Has Higher Education Become an Engine of Inequality?
Inequality is growing in the United States, and social mobility is slowing. A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 62 percent of Americans raised in the top one-fifth of the income scale stay in the top two-fifths; 65 percent born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths. Education, long praised as the great equalizer, no longer seems to be performing as advertised.
What role has higher education played in societyâ€™s stratification? Are colleges and universities contributing to economic inequality and the decline of social mobility? The Chronicle asked a group of noted observers and researchers to respond.