In continuing with the line of thought from my previous post on the factors that affect economic and ethnic diversity at Universities, there are three sets of statistics that have come out recently, highlighted by Matt Yglesias, Matthew Levitt, Brad Plumer and others, that paint a pretty ugly picture about wealth and education in the US. First, we have the CBO study that showed the widening gap in earnings between the “Top 1%” and all other wage earners. Then we have the continued exponential increase of college costs, and the declining value of a college degree in terms of wages. (I’ve pulled the earnings data from the CBO study, tuition information from the College Board’s Advocacy and Policy Center, and wages from the National Center for Education Statistics):
My colleague Max Cavitch (who also writes at Stressing English), recently sent me a link to the US News and World Report rankings of universities based on ethnic and economic diversity. There are lots of interesting details in the lists, and I thought I might try to look at what factors are most significant in shaping a school’s diversity — whether the regional economic and ethnic diversity of the state, or some other factors, like school endowments. I pulled state economic and ethnic data from the 2009 and 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data, and endowment information from the National Association of College and Business Officers.
First, the economic data: