REPORT: America Is Failing To Send Students From Less Educated Households To College

The United States is falling behind other industrialized countries when it comes to making a college education attainable for all of its citizens, according to a report released today. The report, from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, found that the United States is among the worst developed countries in ensuring that young people will obtain a college degree if their parents did not, as Bloomberg reports:

The odds that a young person in the U.S. will go to college if their parents haven’t — 29 percent — are among the lowest of developed countries. That’s according to a report released today by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development.

As the following chart from the report shows, the U.S. is ahead of only Canada and New Zealand in its ability to get students into college if their parents did not also earn a college degree:

One of the biggest barriers to entry for these students is the rising cost of college, since such students tend to come from lower-income families. College costs have soared in recent decades, becoming prohibitive for low-income students who can’t afford the cost.


These numbers are contributing to a growing education gap, as a report on inequality and the middle class from the Center for American Progress detailed earlier this year. That report found that “the probability that a top-scoring low-income student completes college is about the same as the probability that a low-scoring high-income student does,” and that the gap between high-income and low-income students is 30 to 40 percent larger than it was just a generation ago.