By Allan Golston, president of the U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
You’ve seen the headlines and watched the TV segments. The largest college admissions scandal in recent memory has implicated Hollywood celebrities and industry titans who allegedly went to extraordinary lengths to get their children into elite colleges. While this scandal is deeply troubling, perhaps the silver lining is that the news has sparked conversation about the systemic (and legal) ways higher education reinforces privilege and limits access for the low-income and first-generation students who rely on education after high school as an engine of social and economic mobility.
Watching the coverage of the admissions scandal break beyond education circles and become a mainstream topic of conversation, I can’t help but wonder why the broader conversation doesn’t include examples of great work being done in the field to remedy the inequities in higher education, which make a high-income student five times as likely to have a bachelor’s degree by age 24 as a low-income student.