Throughout history, Americans have pushed our nation to make good on its founding promise that all are created equal. It is for this reason that some of our nation’s best-remembered speeches are those that speak of equality and Americans consistently list economic inequality as a chief concern in polls. It is in our national DNA to want all of our children to have the same economic opportunities.
Yet when it comes to access to higher education, recent decades have seen a steady erosion of equality. For many Americans, a college degree is more than a piece of paper or a rite of passage—it is a gateway to a better life. Millions of high-paying jobs require a bachelor’s degree or more just to apply, and 63 percent of job openings in the next five years will require at least some college education.
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