On September 4, 2013, at the New America Foundation’s Washington D.C. offices, details of the 2013 Washington Monthly College Rankings will be unveiled and discussed by an assembled panel of experts. The rankings, released annually since 2005, provide an alternative to traditional college scoring systems, which often end up capturing the ‘prestige’ of colleges, rather than their ability to improve social mobility, promote public service, and generate high quality research.
The theme of the 2013 College Rankings, and the discussion that will take place at New America, is “Higher Education’s New Caste System”. For the better part of a century, higher education has operated under a compact with its citizens. Taxpayers would fund the basic research that sustains economic growth, and in return tuition at public institutions would remain low enough that middle- and lower-class students can afford degrees.
Our assembled experts will debate how that compact appears to be breaking down in front of our eyes. With plummeting state support and skyrocketing tuition, our flagship public universities are increasingly becoming, like elite private colleges, strongholds of the wealthy (including rich foreign students). Meanwhile, lower-income and minority students seem to increasingly being channeled to lower-prestige "open access" colleges where spending per pupil and graduation rates are roughly half as high. Instead of being an engine of equal opportunity, higher education therefore seems to increasingly be a driver of inequality.
Please join the Washington Monthly and the New America Foundation for a panel discussion of the 2013 College Rankings, and higher education's new caste system. This event is free and open to the public, though RSVPs are requested.
Join the conversation online by tweeting @NewAmericaEd with the hashtag #collegeguide.