Disadvantaged students end up 3–4 years behind their more affluent peers. Of course, the richest families bypass the public education system entirely and spend tens of thousands of dollars per year to educate their children privately.
Rich kids are also orders of magnitude more likely to get recruited to elite institutions. Add in legacy admissions and other ways of buying your way into selective colleges, and the result is that students from the 1% are 77 times more likely to attend an Ivy League school than students coming from families earning less than $30,000 a year.
College is largely unaffordable for the poor, who are also excluded from the pervasive institution of unpaid internships. The rich, meanwhile, benefit from massive tax expenditures subsidizing their tuition costs.
Why it matters: Inequality of educational opportunity doesn’t just deprive the economy of trillions of dollars‘ worth of untapped human capital. Its ubiquity and visibility also makes it a key breeding ground for resentment and corruption anxiety within the 99%.