The U.S. has a stratified hierarchy of college and universities. Consequences of this stratification include large disparities in the returns to higher education between levels of postsecondary institutions, and gaps by race and income in terms of where students enroll that, together, have the potential to reproduce longstanding social inequality. We study one potential cause associated with enrollment disparities: the uneven geographic distribution of colleges around the U.S. Specifically, we examine the college application and enrollment decisions of students who live in education deserts—geographic areas where students either do not have local access to a broad-access, public college option (access deserts), or where they do not have access to a college that is academically-matched to their academic credentials (match deserts). We find that students in access deserts are more likely to apply to and enroll in colleges farther away from home than students who have more readily available college options. In contrast, students in match deserts are less likely to apply to and enroll in academically-matched institutions. We discuss the equity implications of these findings and make recommendations for policy and future research.