2/Poor kids have a very tough time getting college degrees.
A poor kid with great test scores is LESS likely to complete college than a rich kid with BAD test scores.
3/A lot of people have a simple solution for that problem: Eliminate tuition at public universities.
But that's unlikely to do the trick, because lower-income students don't pay much if any tuition at those universities as things stand.
4/In fact (and this is a bit of a sidetrack, but deserves to be said), eliminating tuition could even INCREASE the opportunity gap, by making college cheaper for richer kids while keeping it the same for poorer kids.
Anyway, let's move on...
5/If we really want to lower the financial cost of college for poorer kids, it's not tuition we should be attacking. It's the cost of room, board, and textbooks.
6/The second thing we can do to equalize college opportunity is to improve poor families' income stability, so their kids don't have to drop out of college to go support them. This is really important, and often ignored.
7/But beyond financial costs, there are other big barriers to poor kids when it comes to college.
One of these is simply information/ambition. Poor kids often don't realize how talented they are or how high they should aim.
8/And finally, there's the sheer difficulty, complexity, and expense of applying for college (and for need-based financial aid).
It's a bewildering process that educated and rich kids are much better positioned to navigate.
9/My proposed solution: a single nationwide free college application that kids get time to complete in school.
10/This system would solve: A) the time problem, B) the expense problem, and C) the complexity problem, while giving poor kids at least *some* amount of in-person help with applications.
11/Reducing the insanity of the college application process to something simple and universal would go a long way toward equalizing educational opportunity in America.
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