Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States

Posted by Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education on May 8, 2017

“Once known for wide accessibility to and excellence within its higher education system, the U.S. now has an educational system that sorts students in ways that have profound implications for later life chances.” This single statement from a new 124-page report sums up the whole thing.

“Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States — 2017 Historical Trend Report,” a publication of The Pell Institute and PennAHEAD, shows that students from the top quartile of family income are almost five times as like to get a degree as students from the lowest quartile (58% vs. 12%). Enrollment rates for these quartiles also vary – 78 percent for the wealthiest students, compared to 46 percent for the least wealthy – which lays the groundwork for the attainment variations.

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