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Three Worrisome Trends in U.S. Higher Education

The thousands of college campuses that dot the American landscape have long been referred to collectively as a higher education system. It’s never been quite an apt description given the diversity of colleges we have. Increasingly the various types of institutions—from public flagships to selective liberal arts colleges—have very little, if anything, in common with each other. Much like American society is segregated by income and geography, so too is higher education.

The divides have only grown wider in recent years. Some campuses recovered from the Great Recession, but many are still struggling to fill classes and balance budgets. Two new reports on higher education underscore three troubling trends facing colleges and policymakers in the years ahead.