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The Rural Higher-Education Crisis

“When they’re ready to be done with high school, they think, ‘That’s all the school I need, and I’m just going to go and find a job’” on the family farm or at the egg-packaging plant or the factory that makes pulleys and conveyor belts, or driving trucks that haul grain. Variations of this mindset, among many other reasons, have given rise to a reality that’s gotten lost in the impassioned debate over who gets to go to college, which often focuses on low-income people of color: The high-school graduates who head off to campus in the lowest proportions in America are the ones from rural places.