We broke the American Dream

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For 150 years the American Dream was the embodiment of hope for people around the world.  Go to America, work hard, get an education, and with a little luck you could move from the bottom quartile in earnings (poor) to the top. Twenty years ago, we broke that.

With a well intentioned effort to make sure that every American could afford to go to college (because it was such a critical component of achieving that dream) we broke the market and removed the incentive for schools to keep costs down.  There was no longer a market penalty to increasing tuition rates.  Schools saw the same number of students and in the same quality despite large increases in tuition.  States learned that they could divert funds away from higher education and that tuition could offset the losses in university budgets.

And as a result we are now 15th in the world in economic mobility and seeing decreasing effectiveness of education on income levels.  The amount of debt required to attain a degree is so large that the gains it used to afford an individual are subsumed by the servicing of that debt.  So, the poor stay poor and the rich stay rich.  This wasn’t what we wanted, as a nation, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

EIC is working to help address the challenges from well-intentioned (if poorly considered) policy by making it possible for individuals to de-risk the education they are seeking.