Nicholas Lehman of the New Yorker has written an important column about how the soaring costs of higher education are perpetuating growing inequality.
"In higher education, the United States may be on its way to becoming more like the rest of the world, with a small group of schools controlling access to life
membership in the élite. And higher education is becoming more like other areas
of American life, with the fortunate few institutions distancing themselves ever
further from the many. All those things which commencement speakers talk
about—personal growth, critical-thinking skills, intellectual exploration,
breadth of learning—will survive at the top institutions, but other colleges
will come under increased pressure to adopt the model of trade schools. Student
loans open access to students, and give colleges more freedom. Obama and Romney
will have plenty to disagree about, and it’s good that the interest rate on
student loans isn’t on the list. For the federal government to pump extra
tuition money into the system, in the form of low-cost loans, in order to spread
opportunity more widely, and to allow more schools to provide more than skills
instruction, seems like a small price to pay for the kind of society it buys." -
The entire article is linked here.