The American Dream is an inspiring ideal. But analysis has shown that the opportunity to improve one’s situation in life is not equally distributed.
This brief summarizes the detailed research findings from Opportunity Insights’ recent paper, Income Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility Across Colleges in the United States, including that, on average, students from low-income families who attend elite colleges see higher future earnings than their peers at less selective schools. However, there is a high degree of segregation by parental income across colleges, with students from high-income families more likely to attend elite or selective colleges and students from low-income families more likely to attend less selective or open-admission colleges. This limits the opportunities available for students from low-income families to see the increased earnings associated with graduating from an elite college.