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Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy

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"The best book yet on the complex lives and choices of for-profit students."
The New York Times Book Review

As featured on The Daily Show, NPR's Marketplace, and Fresh Air, the "powerful, chilling tale" (Carol Anderson, author of White Rage) of higher education becoming an engine of social inequality
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Lower Ed is quickly becoming the definitive book on the fastest-growing sector of higher education at the turn of the twenty-first century: for-profit colleges. With sharp insight and deliberate acumen, Tressie McMillan Cottom—a sociologist who was once a recruiter at two for-profit colleges—expertly parses the fraught dynamics of this big-money industry.




Drawing on more than one hundred interviews with students, employees, executives, and activists, Lower Ed details the benefits, pitfalls, and real costs of the expansion of for-profit colleges. Now with a new foreword by Stephanie Kelton, economic advisor to Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign, this smart and essential book cuts to the very core of our nation's broken social contracts and the challenges we face in our divided, unequal society.

ISBN-13: 9781620974384

Media Type: Paperback(Reprint)

Publisher: New Press The

Publication Date: 08-07-2018

Pages: 240

Product Dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Tressie McMillan Cottom is an associate professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of Thick. Her work has been featured by The Daily Show, the New York Times, the Washington Post, PBS, NPR, Fresh Air, and The Atlantic, among others. In 2020, McMillan Cottom was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Table of Contents

Foreword Stephanie Kelton ix

Introduction: The Education Gospel 1

1 The Real 27

2 The Beauty College and the Technical College 41

3 Jesus Is My Backup Plan 69

4 When Higher Education Makes Cents 113

5 Where Credit Is Due 141

6 Credentials, Jobs, and the New Economy 157

Epilogue 179

Acknowledgments 189

Methodological Notes 191

Notes 195

Index 219