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Stratification in Secondary Education

The New York Times reports on a new study of the college landscape in the United States:

The United States is reputed to have the world’s wealthiest postsecondary education system, with average spending of around $19,000 per student compared with $8,400 across other developed countries, says the report, “Trends in College Spending 1998-2008,” by the Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit group in Washington that advocates for controlling costs to keep college affordable.

“Our analysis shows that these comparisons are misleading,” said Jane Wellman, the project’s executive director. “While the United States has some of the wealthiest institutions in the world, it also has a ‘system’ of postsecondary education with far more economic stratification than is true of any other country.”

Community colleges, which enroll about a third of students, spend close to $10,000 per student per year, Ms. Wellman said, while the private research institutions, which enroll far fewer students, spend an average $35,000 a year for each one