We all have been told: go to college if you want to get a good job, have a good career, and lead a good life. However, it is by in large the wealth who have the privilege of going to college.  They then get to maintain this privilege with a degree and maintain their socioeconomic status.  Consider for instance that those students whose families earn less than $60,000 annual are considered ‘poor’ at Harvard.  The median income of a family in the US is just under $50,000.  Not at Harvard though!  Though no statics are published on this fact, one can look at the at Harvard’s webpage on Financial aide.  They say 70% of students receive some form of aide, and that the highest income bracket for which aide maybe given is $180,000 annual for a family (http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/financial_aid/faq.html) .  This means that 30% of families who send their students to Harvard earn more than $180,000 annually.  In the general US population, fewer than 6% of families earn more than $150,000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States).  Harvard has 700% the national average of ultra-wealthy!  When one goes to Harvard, one is set for life even without the degree; they can rely on family wealth.  It is similar for other institutions.  Just compare the cars being driven by the students to the cars being driven by those who maintain the buildings and ground.  One of these groups is currently employed, and the other is costing their parents $50,000 a year to send away, but only one of these groups is driving around BMW’s…

This is all not to say that college is a bad thing.  However, to call college a great equalizer, something that will flatten society, or to promote it as egalitarian are completely wrong.  I have never read one study that says that the wealthy are the brain trust of this nation.  The wealthiest are not the smartest.  Intelligence is fairly well distributed across all wage earners.  Certainly if one can afford to send their child to college they do.  Sponsoring college for your children seems to be the way of giving back the gift your parents gave you when they sent you to college.  Doing so will likely increase their income, and then their ability to send their children onto college, perpetuating the cycle and cementing your middle class standing.


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