TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg recently released a new report that indicates how community college students are being severely shortchanged in terms of receiving public funding. An article appeared in MarketWatch citing the research and highlighting how this lack of adequate funding is driving the inequality gap to become even wider.
“Community colleges are the quintessential institutions for the aspiring middle class,” said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and the author of the report. “So getting community colleges wrong is central to this larger problem of a lack of social mobility.”
Read the full article.
The Century Foundation's report "How Higher Education Funding Shortchanges Community Colleges" was released today. TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg, who authored the report, spoke with Inside Higher Ed about the need to remedy the disparity in funding between community colleges and four-year institutions.
"There's a growing awareness that for the first time we're educating large numbers of low-income and working-class students. In the report, I note that 86 percent of high school graduates go on to some form of college. This is relatively new for higher education," Kahlenberg said. "A century ago you only had something like 5 percent of students who went on to higher education and received bachelor's degrees."
Yet the most funding tends to go toward highly selective four-year colleges. The report notes that per-student public funding for public community colleges stood at about $7,400 in 2011 compared to about $16,300 for public research institutions (although funding per student in public master's degree programs came in at about $7,900).
TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg, who has written extensively on reforming the higher education system, encourages the U.S. Supreme Court to accept an appeal made by Abigail Noel Fisher in the Fisher v. University of Texas litigation challenging UT-Austin’s affirmative-action policies. Kahlenberg champions the use of class instead of race as a means of encouraging a diverse student body on college campuses.
In the Fisher decision, the court said the 14th Amendment of the Constitution placed on universities "the ultimate burden of demonstrating, before turning to racial classifications, that workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice." The justices then sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit to apply this standard.
Read Kahlenberg's entire article featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
TCF senior fellow and education expert Richard Kahlenberg was featured on NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook where he spoke about how the American college education system is becoming increasingly the poster child of the affluent class. Listen to him speaking on the issue:
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 shares that she discovered the high drop out rate of college students is due to the inability to pay tuition and falling grades as a result of working long hours at a job 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.
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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