The race gap has narrowed significantly in college enrollments, with 65 percent of black high school graduates attending college, compared to just under 70 percent of whites in 2011, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. However, the gap in graduation rates remains wide and admission to college has little value if a degree isn’t the end result.
Getting a college education increases a person's income earning potential. In 2013, Americans whose households made over $108,650 in 2012 were more than eight times more likely to have graduated from a bachelor’s-degree program than Americans whose households made less than $34,160. Go back to 1970, and the higher-income group was five times more likely to have earned a bachelor's degree. The trend indicates that a college education has become more and more important to financial health and success. The problem is that the high cost of education makes finishing a bachelor's degree much harder for the nation's poorest students.
It’s been a year since the White House announced its plan for a new college rating system and most college presidents still don’t love it. The idea of being held accountable for the success of students doesn’t sit well with many administrators. Yet, with student debt mounting, full-time professors dwindling, and the cost of tuition skyrocketing, colleges may have to get comfortable with showing they’re worth it.