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How Do We Make College More Accessible?


The divide between America’s rich and poor has grown extensively in the past 30 years, especially for people raising kids. And while the rich have become richer, earnings have declined for the lowest-income echelon. Education can and should be the great equalizer, expanding opportunity for the poor. But how can we improve public policy to ensure that it’s accessible to all income levels in an age of skyrocketing tuition costs?

On Tuesday, the Hamilton Project will host a panel of experts who will discuss the imperative of opening up college access for more people and some strategies to do so. Stanford University’s CAroline Hoxby will discuss a proposal she co-wrote with University of Virginia’s Sarah Turner that spells our an approach to reach high-achieving low-income students and give the resources to apply to college. 

Others on the panel include William Fitzsimmons of Harvard, Nicole Farmer Hurd of the National College Advising Corps and Russ Whitehurst of Brookings’s Brown Center on Education Policy. 

The conversation will focus on how education can close socioeconomic inequality, from preschool to K-12 and higher education.

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“Closing the growing inequality gap in the United States will likely require a variety of strategies, but more education and training is clearly one of the most effective approaches for enhancing mobility,” says the Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project, a study of how to improve opportunity and equality in America.

Meanwhile, investment in job training and education, variables that more and more decide one’s success in the job market, are becoming more polarized by household income.

“Given how important education and, in particular, a college degree are in the labor market, these trends hint at a perpetuation of last generation’s inequities into the next generation—and diminishing opportunities for upward economic mobility,” says the project summary.

Click here to register for the event or to read more about it.

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Jennifer Wadsworth
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