Published in U.S. News & World Report

By Hilary Pennington

Education has long been called the “great equalizer” in helping families and individuals attain the American dream. But it’s become increasingly harder to ignore deepening inequality within our higher education system.

Due to a variety of factors—the rising cost of college, cuts to government funding and limited or subpar early education opportunities for many, especially children of color—the makeup of colleges and universities today is becoming richer, whiter and more privileged. This trend reinforces and perpetuates widening inequality in our society, our economy, and our politics as university graduates increasingly earn more and have more opportunities than their non-degree counterparts.

Simply put, higher education is both a reflection of and contributor to the growing chasm between the rich and poor, whites and blacks, English-speakers and non-English speakers, and so on.

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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