Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale are branded with academic excellence, selectivity in admissions and social elitism; and the allure of private Ivy League universities are as time-honored as the institutions themselves. Nonetheless, multicultural high school seniors are less likely to pursue education at Ivy's and more likely to stick to safety schools.

The National Bureau of Economic Research published a study indicating  that for most African American and Latino high school students, safety schools are typically a first choice when choosing to attend college. Latinos and blacks are more likely than white students to apply for colleges close to home, which have a large multicultural population and a track record of success with students from their own high school.

Latino and African-American students frequently settle for colleges and universities that are far less challenging, even when they're talented students capable of accessing a better education. That choice can be attributed to the fact many are influenced by more than academic ability; they prefer institutions with a large population with a similar background, and they prefer a campuses that graduated successful students from their high school.

According to the report's author, Hispanic students are least likely of all ethnic groups to apply to college, and that's especially true when it comes to "elite flagship universities." That fact holds true even in states like Texas, where the top 10 percent of graduate seniors receive automatic admission to the state's top universities.

College-bound African-Americans differ slightly. They apply to college at a rate that's similar to whites, but they, like Latinos, tend to seek out colleges and universities that successfully graduated individuals from their own high school. Both African-American and Latino college-bound students are likely to select schools close to their families.

According to the study, the force behind this trend is unclear. However, culturally, Latino and black students are more family-oriented, and many are first in their families to attend college or university. Also, remaining close to home could mean they don't have to pay for room and board atop of a hefty tuition. Other obstacles include a lack of guidance when selecting a college, as well as mixed emotions about leaving home.

Nationally, there are 4,000 colleges and universities for students to consider, and that weighty decision often encourages young people to remain close to family or attend schools where they already have friends. Approximately 20 percent of the 7.3 million students attending school are first-generation students, and half of those students come from low-earning families. Most of those individuals are non-white, and Hispanics are at the forefront.

Numerous Ivy League schools have designed programs to attract bright first-generation students, impressing upon them the importance of selecting a strong academic experience that's beyond their own backyard.