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When Americans talk about access to a college education, they tend to narrow the acceptable boundaries of the conversation. They ask why the cost of college has gotten so out of control compared to the costs of other goods and services, and they sometimes talk about the closely related subject of financial aid. But very rarely do Americans discuss the dramatic changes to the financial aid system that have made college increasingly unaffordable to the very students who need financial aid most. In researching his book "Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide," the author came to the conclusion that, despite the oft-repeated rhetoric to the contrary, the American education system actually helps perpetuate inequality of opportunity. In this article, he explains why the American higher education system has become deeply stratified along class lines, discusses the need to confront the class divide in American education, and argues that Americans must tear down the gates and make higher education more inclusive, rather than exclusive.
Higher Education; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges