Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Frederick R. Lynch

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Rights Information

© 2012 Chantal Bao-Chau Hoang


This paper aims to explore how shifting federal, state, and individual priorities have transformed public higher education from a bastion of quality higher education for the greatest number of people to a more privatized state that only provides access and choice to those who can afford them. Decreased public support and state appropriations for public higher education schools have led many institutions to privatize themselves through increasing tuition prices and enrolling more out-of-state and international students who can afford to pay the full sticker price. At the same time, federal financial aid programs have become more and more geared towards assisting middle- and upper-income families, rather than focusing their efforts on removing financial barriers for low-income students. Combined, these two trends have manifested greater socioeconomic inequality for students with low-incomes; public higher education institutions are slowly turning their backs on those for whom federally funded public colleges and universities were built.