Can Free College Save American Cities?

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The idea was one part radical social engineering: How better to change the life trajectory of the city’s struggling urban poor than to send them to college? As economists have long known, the biggest single predictor of financial success in modern America is a college degree: those with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $15,000 more each year than those who merely graduate high school; those with associate’s degrees make an average of $7,000 more each year. Increasingly, those with no higher education are the ones left behind. But the Kalamazoo promise wasn’t just a big idea about the new economics of education; the hope wasn’t just to send more kids to college – but to turn around an entire town. More@Politico