Higher education has long been tauted as the key to the middle class, and there is plenty of data to prove it. Researchers at the Brookings Institution have distilled the issue down to three distinct reasons why attending (and graduating from) college has such a strong impact on social mobility.
1) College drop-outs have average earnings levels and unemployment rates closer to HS grads than college grads.
2) Individuals born into poverty who get a college degree are more upwardly mobile than non-college graduates.
3) Parents pass on their educational advantage to the next generation--half of children with highly educated parents end up highly educated themselves as adults. Not only can higher education lift first-generation students out of poverty, but chances are that having a college degree will positively impact future generations as well.
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