Georgetown research: Inequality in higher education costs the U.S. $965 billion a year

By: | May 12, 2021

Evidence has been building for years that the value individuals reap from our education system varies by gender, race and income. Those discrepancies are not only costly to individuals, but to the nation at large.

That’s one takeaway from an analysis released by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce. The report finds that inequality in higher education is costing the U.S. $965 billion annually in lost tax revenue and increased spending on public assistance, criminal justice and more.

The report focuses on the economic impact of boosting the share of Americans from underrepresented groups who earn an associate’s degree to equal the rate of degree completion of their white and wealthier peers. The barriers to achieving that goal are systemic and include inequities in access to quality preschool, elementary school and high school education, said Anthony Carnevale, the director of the Georgetown center.

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