Professional Biography

Manuel González Canché joined the Higher Education division as an associate professor in 2017. At Penn GSE he also serves as affiliated faculty with the Human Development and Quantitative Methods division and the International Educational Development Program. In addition, he is a senior scholar in the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy and a senior research associate at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

As a low-income and first-generation college student, González Canché has a special interest in understanding structural factors that influence minority and at-risk students’ likelihood of educational and occupational success. He aims to identify plans of action capable of closing social and economic gaps resulting from students’ reduced access to financial, academic, and social resources. His findings have offered a more nuanced understanding of the effect of location, influence, and competition, and have challenged traditional ideas about access, persistence, and success in higher education.

González Canché is the 2016 recipient of the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Promising Scholar/Early Career Award. He has secured funding for research from the Spencer Foundation, the American Education Research Association/National Science Foundation, the Association for Institutional Research, and the Institute of Education Sciences.

Research Interests and Current Projects

González Canché’s research follows two interconnected paths. The first concerns issues of access, persistence, and success, with an emphasis on institution effects--such as 2-year versus 4-year college and distance from home—on students’ outcomes The second focuses on higher education finance, with emphases on spatial modeling and competition based on spatial proximity and spillover effects.

In his research González Canché employs econometric, quasi-experimental, spatial statistics, and visualization methods for big and geocoded data, including geographical information systems, representation of real-world networks, and text-mining techniques. In related work, he aims to harness the mathematical power of network analysis to find structure in written content. He is proposing an analytic method (Network Analysis of Qualitative Data) that blends quantitative, mathematical, and qualitative principles to analyze text data. Similarly, he is also proposing the implementation of geographical network analyses that merge network principles and spatial econometrics to model spatial dependence of the outcome variables before making inferential claims. Both of these approaches are yet to be broadly implemented in higher education research.

Recent projects include:

  • Overcoming the Geography of Disadvantage: A Spillovers Framework to Identify Structural Means to Enhance Community College Students' Educational Outcomes Despite Their Location. Funding: $70,000. NAED/Spencer postdoctoral fellowship. Funding period: January 2019–December 2020.
  • Employment Volatility in the Academic Workforce: Implications for Faculty Financial and Retirement Plans. Funding: $70,000. TIAA institute. Funding period: April 2019– February 2020.
  • The Effect of the Uniform Bar Examination on Diversity, Affordability, and Employment Prospects. Funding: $71,128. AccessLEX Institute. Funding period: April 2019–September 2020.
  • Estimating the Effect of Losing the Federal Loan Subsidy on Debt Accumulation for Law and Professional Students in the United States: Evidence From a Natural Experiment (Principal Investigator). Funding: $49,997. Association for Institutional Research, Access Group/AIR Grant (grant #RG1606). Funding period: March 2016–April 2017.
  • Are there Any Educational and Financial Detriments Associated with Nearby College Enrollment? (Principal Investigator). Funding: $20,000. American Education Research Association/National Science Foundation (grant #DRL-0941014). Funding period: March 2016–August 2017.
  • Toward an Alliance to Prepare a National Faculty for Broadening Success of Underrepresented 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Students (Senior Personnel). Funding: $300,000. National Science Foundation. Funding period: January 2017–­January 2019.
  • The Gendered Career Path from Doctorate to Faculty Appointment: A Multi-State Analysis (Co-Principal Investigator). Funding: $39,966, AIR/NCES/NSF (grant #RG15-9240). Year: 2015–2016.
  • Improving the Teaching and Learning of English Language Learners: The Instructional Conversation Model (Co-Principal Investigator). Funding: $1.5 million. Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Funding period: 2012–2016.
  • Financial Benefits of Student Loan Repayment: An Analytic Framework Employing Two Decades of Data (Principal Investigator). Funding: $35,100. The Spencer Foundation (grant #201500116). Funding period: January–December 2015.


Ph.D. (Higher Education, cognates in Biostatistics, Economics, and Sociology) University of Arizona, 2012

M.S. (Educational Research, concentration on quantitative modeling) Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, 2007

B.A. (Educational Research) Autonomous University of the Yucatan, 2005

Areas of Expertise

Pathways for underrepresented minorities
Community colleges
Experimental and quasi-experimental design
Statistical and geographical network analysis
Data visualization
Big and geocoded data

Selected Publications

González Canché, M. S. (in press, 2019). Re(de)fining College Access and its Association with Divergent Forms of Financial Aid: A Proposed Conceptual and Analytic Framework. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education.

González Canché, M. S. (in press). Community college effects on undergraduate student loan debt: A comprehensive analysis of debt accumulation and burden across public higher education sectors and decades. Research in Higher Education.

González Canché, M. S. (in press). Spatial econometrics and network analysis as means to assess the assumption of independence in higher education research. New Directions for Institutional Research.   

González Canché, M. S. (in press). The statistical power of “zooming in:” Applying geographically-based difference in differences using spatio-temporal analysis to the study of college aid and access. New Directions for Institutional Research.  

González Canché, M. S. (in press). Geographical, statistical, and qualitative network analysis: A multifaceted method-bridging tool to reveal and model meaningful structures in education research. In M. B. Paulsen (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research, Vol. 34. New York: Springer.

González Canché, M. S. (in press). Challenges and opportunities in the use of big and geocoded data in higher education research and policy. In M. Gasman & A. Castro-Samoya (Eds.), Contemporary issues in higher education. New York: Routledge.

González Canché, M. S. (in press). Reassessing the two-year sector’s role in the amelioration of a persistent socioeconomic gap: A proposed analytical framework for the study of community college effects in the big and geocoded data and quasi-experimental era. In M. B. Paulsen (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research. New York: Springer.

Rubin, P. & González Canché, M. S. (in press, 2019). Test-flexible admissions policies and student enrollment demographics: Examining a public research university. Review of Higher Education.

Turk, J. M. & González Canché, M. S. (2018). On-campus housing’s impact on degree completion and upward transfer in the community college sector: A comprehensive quasi-experimental analysis. The Journal of Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/00221546.2018.1487755 

González Canché, M. S. (2018). Geographical network analysis and spatial econometrics as tools to enhance our understanding of student migration patterns and benefits in the U.S. higher education networkThe Review of Higher Education41(2), 169-216. 

González Canché, M. S. (2018). Nearby college enrollment and geographical skills mismatch: (Re)conceptualizing student out-migration in the American higher education systemThe Journal of Higher Education, 1-43. DOI: 10.1080/00221546.2018.1442637

González Canché, M. S. (2017). Financial benefits of rapid student loan repayment: An analytic framework employing two decades of data. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 671(1), 154–182.

González Canché, M. S. (2017). The heterogeneous non-resident student body: Measuring the effect of out-of-state students’ home-state wealth on tuition and fee price variations. Research in Higher Education, 58, 141–183.

González Canché, M. S. (2017). Community college scientists and salary gap: Navigating socioeconomic and academic stratification in the U.S. higher education system. Journal of Higher Education, 88(1), 1–32.

González Canché, M. S. (2014). Localized competition in the non-resident student market. Economics of Education Review, 43, 21–35.

González Canché, M. S. (2014). Is the community college a less expensive path toward a bachelor's degree? Public 2- and 4-year colleges' impact on loan debt. The Journal of Higher Education, 85(5), 723–759.