TCF fellow and Cornell professor of politics Suzanne Mettler recently presented her research findings on the effects of higher education at a University of Massachusetts lecture series titled, "Perspectives on Inequality." Mettler shards that she discovered the high drop out rate of college students is due to the inability to pay tuition and falling grades due to pressure to work long hours instead of studying.
“The big problem with policy maintenance is partisan politicization,” she said. This leads to stalemates around higher education policy, Mettler said. When politicians do reach across the aisle and work together in higher education policy, they are often responding to the needs of large interests like corporations, not the American people, she said.
“Today, we’re spending more than ever, but we’re not spending it in ways that mitigate inequality,” she said.
Read the review of Mettler's talk .
Kevin Carey's new book The End of College takes a close look at America's flawed higher education business model. In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Carey cites the ideas of TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg, a vocal advocate against university policies that often benefit America's wealthier students.
As Rick Kahlenberg of the Century Foundation likes to note, the American Revolution "was fought in large measure to rid ourselves of aristocracy and inherited privilege." Yet those ideas and systems continue to corrupt college admissions over two centuries later.
Check out the rest of the interview at Inside Higher Ed.
Many top universities admit a sizeable percentage of their student body on the basis of those students receiving "legacy preference." TCF fellow Richard Kahlenberg, a longtime critic of the practice, commented on legacy admissions, pointing out its flaws and the fundamental unfairness of the system.
In an op-ed in The New York Times in May 2013 titled “Affirmative Action for the Rich,” Kahlenberg voiced his opposition to the policy, decrying it as inherently “un-American” and particularly privileging affluent families.
“In other walks of life, we would consider it absurd to add points to a candidate’s application based on lineage, and legacies in higher education may soon come to an end as well,” Kahlenberg wrote in the op-ed.
Read more on what Kahlenberg had to say about the practice that he's called "affirmative action for the rich" in The Hoya.
TCF fellow and Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler spoke with Don Marsh of St. Louis Public Radio on the rates at which young adults are finishing their degrees and how those rates have changed over the past few decades. She says that "political squabbling" is to blame for impeding progress that Congress could have made in terms of student loan policy and improving access overall to higher education.
More students than ever go to college, but it’s only those who come from the top quarter of the income spectrum who are very likely to finish their degree within six years — by age 24,” she said. “For people in the bottom 75 percent, the results are very poor and they’ve hardly increased since the 1970s.
Listen to Mettler's discussion and read the rest of the commentary here.
TCF fellow Halley Potter explores how President Obama's new Student Aid Bill of Rights lays out a set of principles for making student borrowing fairer and more affordable.READ MORE
TCF fellow Rick Kahlenberg reviews author Robert Putnam's work, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Kahlenberg explains how Putnam describes the gaps in class and race, as well as how these gaps take effect on an individual's education and future accessibility to success.
One study Putnam cites finds that after controlling for family and academic background and school inputs, students who attend a high school with classmates from a high socioeconomic status have a 68 percent higher probability of enrolling in a four year college than a student who attends a school where classmates have a low socioeconomic status.
Read Kahlenberg's full review.
Most K-12 education reforms are about trying to make "separate but equal" schools for rich and poor work well. The results of these efforts have been discouraging. The Century Foundation looks at ways to integrate public schools by economic status through public school choice. At the higher education level, we examine ways to open the doors of selective and non-selective institutions to students of modest means.
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