Monday, March 12, 2007

Delbanco's Scandals of Higher Education

I have this long NYRB essay review of several books on higher education, cited widely already, on my list to read next. I know a bit about the author, as he wrote an absorbing (intellectual, literary, and cultural) biography of Herman Melville I finished a few months ago.

Scandals of Higher Education By Andrew Delbanco

It is hardly surprising that lots of rich kids go to America's richest colleges. It has always been so. But today's students are richer on average than their predecessors. Between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s, in a sample of eleven prestigious colleges, the percentage of students from families in the bottom quartile of national family income remained roughly steady— around 10 percent. During the same period the percentage of students from the top quartile rose sharply, from a little more than one third to fully half. If the upscale shops and restaurants near campus are any indication, the trend has continued if not accelerated.

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