The Growing College-Degree Wealth Gap

Recently, The Atlantic published an article demonstrating the growing gap in college completion rates for Bachelor’s degree between students of low-income and of wealthier backgrounds. The article draws on a trend report from the Pell Institute and it is a thought provoking read for all of us trying to grow college attainment and achieve educational equity.

Below is an excerpt from the article…

The Growing College-Degree Wealth Gap

A new report demonstrates a stubborn chasm between rich and poor students earning bachelor’s degrees.

The nation’s colleges continue to graduate far fewer students who grew up in poor households. With the country’s economic potential possibly hanging in the balance, a new report urges the United States to dedicate more resources and know-how to closing the college-completion gap between wealthier students and those from low-income backgrounds.

The issue boils down to the number of college-educated workers that will be needed to fill the bulk of the country’s new jobs—two-thirds of which will require some college background by 2020—and the dearth of college degrees held by lower-income workers. With well-paying jobs in manufacturing and the trades largely a relic of the nation’s industrial past, the middle-class pathways for workers with just a high-school education are few and far between. The basic arithmetic underscoring America’s labor needs points to a possible future in which the poor are unable to take full part in the nation’s economy, creating great social and economic strain.

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