How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream

Suzanne Mettler, Cornell University

America was once the world's leader in higher education. But as other nations leapfrog ahead in graduation rates, U.S. colleges and universities now favor the privileged and saddle many students with unmanageable debt. Suzanne Mettler's new book pinpoints what went wrong – and calls for important reforms.

Mettler's newly released book, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream (Basic Books, 2014) is already generating wide interest and discussion. The New York Times highlighted Mettler's work in "College, the Great Unleveler." The Chronicle of Higher Education did the same, featuring Mettler's "Equalizers No More," accompanied by data charts that allow the reader to track declining support for colleges and universities in all fifty U.S. states.

Suzanne Mettler is a member of the national steering committee of the Scholars Strategy Network and a leading authority on the politics of U.S. public policy. Her previous research focused on gender and U.S. welfare policy as well as on the effects of the G.I. Bill of 1944 on social opportunity and democratic citizenship in the United States. In 2011, she published The Submerged State, a study of the ways in which hidden tax breaks and subsidies leave American citizens confused and mystified about the many ways in which government policies impact their lives.

March 2014