Elsewhere online
July 09, 2015

Opinion: Philanthropy Not the Cure for What Ails Higher Ed

High-profile philanthropic efforts to increase college access for low- and middle-income students serve to reinforce rather than resolve a system that creates inequality in higher education, according to a writer for liberal magazine The Nation.

William Deresiewicz says efforts such as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's $1 million prize for universities that promote economic diversity and the Starbucks tuition program for its employees, while admirable, serve few enrollees and do not address the ways in which "private colleges will always have to cater to the rich and affluent" — such as favoring the children of donors and alumni and maintaining admissions systems that benefit families able to put greater resources into their children's development.

"Now that the rich have all the cash, and raising taxes is considered unthinkable, we have no choice but to rely increasingly on the rich — whether individuals, institutions, or corporations — to do the things that governments should do, including funding higher education," he writes.