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 society’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.