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How Colleges Perpetuate Inequality

From Peter Sacks's Jan. 12 essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Colleges, once seen as beacons of egalitarian hope, are becoming bastions of wealth and privilege that perpetuate inequality. The chance of a low-income child obtaining a bachelor's degree has not budged in three decades: Just 6 percent of students from the lowest-income families earned a bachelor's degree by age 24 in 1970, and in 2002 still only 6 percent did. Lower still is that child's chance of attending one of America's top universities.

But while the growing class divide may be among the most compelling higher-education stories, political and educational leaders have been slow to respond. The rich and powerful of both the left and the right seem to have convinced them that confronting that divide comes at their peril. Members of America's ruling class have too much at stake, including family legacies, for their children not to follow in their footsteps to Harvard, Yale, or Michigan.