孩子上哪所大学最有可能改变和提升水平?(中 英 两版本)

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这是别处「门徒」系列的第 19 篇文章。最近,「学区房」一事在国内炒得相当之厉害。所有的一切都指向一个原因:孩子的教育。一定要上最好的小学,才能升最好的中学;上了最好的中学,才能考上最好的大学。甚至,幼儿园的好坏也需要斤斤计较……教育的阶层分野究竟有多严重?「学区房」背后,这才是最让人揪心的问题。不如来看看美国吧。家庭的出身,和最后上不上大学、上什么样的大学,相关性有多强?很遗憾,数据告诉我们,白手起家、靠自己奋斗的美国梦,现在已经越来越稀薄。阶层流动的大门要关上了吗?一个社会到底怎样才能提供教育上最基本的公平?

一些大学富豪遍地穷学生却不见踪影
你能想象吗,在美国一些大学中,来自社会 Top 1% 绝对精英家庭的孩子的数量,比占社会大多数的一般平民还要多?这绝对不是偶像电视剧里面 yy 出来的贵公子遍地的「贵族学校」,而是面向全美(甚至全世界招生)的一般大学,却往往选择了有钱人家的孩子。美国有 38 所大学,来自收入最高的 1% 家庭的学生,要多于家庭收入处于社会「底端」 60% 的学生。这其中了包括「常春藤联盟」中的五大名校:达特茅斯大学、普林斯顿大学、耶鲁大学、宾夕法尼亚大学、布朗大学。下面的表格中列出了家庭收入占前 1%(年收入在 63 万美元及以上)的学生比例和家庭收入占后 60%(年收入在 6.5 万美元及以下)的学生比例。这一表格就是综合这两项比例而列出的「富豪最多的美国大学 Top 10」。

以排名榜首的圣路易斯华盛顿大学为例,21.7% 的学生家庭年收入超过 63 万美元,只有 6.1% 的学生家庭年收入不到 6.5 万美元。该校学生家庭年收入的中位数是 27.2 万美元,84% 的学生来自家庭收入前 20% 的家庭。

圣路易斯华盛顿大学是美国最富盛名的大学之一,其赞助捐赠总金额一直排名全美国前十名,大学捐款超过 60 亿美元,是全美最富有的大学之一。二至四位分别为科罗拉多学院、华盛顿与李大学、科尔比学院和三一学院,他们都是美国顶尖的私立文理学院。

我们也查了一下其它学校的排名。

“常春藤联盟”大学的“富豪”排名如下:

其它 Top 名校的排名如下:

所有这些世界前 50 的学校,有超过 2/3 的学校里,10% 以上是“富豪”。这毫不夸张。

上大学的贫富差距

上述数据均来自美国“机会均等计划”(The Equality of Opportunity Project)的调查。这项调查主要研究了大学对于代际收入流动性(intergenerational income mobility)的影响。简而言之,这个调查是为了回答“上大学到底能不能改变命运?”这一问题。而收入无疑是最好量化个人“命运”的因素。

高等教育如何塑造学生的未来,以及学生怎样通过高等教育来改变自己的人生?

从 1999 年到 2013 年,在追踪调查了超过三千万美国大学生的个人收入和父母收入后,调查人员发现,精英大学中的富家子弟要比他们原本想象得多出许多。粗略来讲,每四个富家子弟中就有一个读的是精英大学。而底层五分之一的美国家庭中,每 1000 人中只有 5 个人能和那些富家子弟成为同学。

从上面的表格中不难看出,家庭收入处于前 0.1% 的学生中,10 个里有 4 个就读于常春藤联盟大学或精英名校。这一数据大致等同于低收入家庭中就读于二年制和四年制大学的学生比例。换句话说,如果你出生在一个富豪家庭,只要不笨,好好读书,“藤校”就能对你敞开大门,而来自底层的孩子,同样的聪明程度,同样的努力,上个大专就不错了。

穷孩子最有可能

通过上哪个大学来改变命运?

先前的研究已经证实了,美国很多收入低的学生,因为他们的原生家庭是中等甚至低等收入,无法像富裕家庭一样负担得起重点大学或者顶尖大学的高昂学费,但他们的个人能力是不逊于其他同学的。尽管这些低收入家庭孩子面临了更多的挑战,但这些学生毕业后的个人工资,和同校的富家子弟们的平均水平所差无几。一方面名校的 title 自然有加成,但另一方面,个人的能力也是重要的因素。

一些精英大学也已经更多地关注于如何成功地招收低等家庭的学生。加州大学伯克利分校的经济学副教授丹尼·雅根是这项研究的作者之一,他说: “只有你通过招生考试,我们免掉的学费才有意义。”

上面的表格指出了父母收入排名和学生个人收入排名的关系。最上面的红线反映的是12 所“常春藤+”大学的学生个人收入和父母收入的排名。在这些学校里,富裕学生的个人收入在平均收入分配的百位榜上排名第 80。而其中的低收入家庭学子的排名是第 75 名。(注:“常春藤+”大学指的是 8 所“常春藤联盟”大学,以及杜克大学、麻省理工大学、斯坦福大学和芝加哥大学。)

然而对于整个社会来说,情况依然是“穷人的孩子长大了依然穷,富人的孩子依然富”。出生于 1980 年至 1982 年间的人们现在已经 35 岁左右了。从三十大几直到退休,他们的收入都仍然保持在相似的位置上。所以至少从平均水平看来,36 岁时赚的最多的人,60 多岁退休时仍然赚的最多。

尽管多数低收入家庭的孩子从精英大学走出来后成功告别了贫穷,仍然有一些孩子跳不出贫困的圈子。所以那些次精英大学在推动社会流动性的作用更为重要。调查员们因此发明了一个新数值叫“大学流动率”。

这一流动率综合考虑了一所大学中,从低收入家庭成功跳入高收入阶层的学生比率。排名最靠前的并不是顶尖大学,而是中等的公立大学,包括纽约城市大学的众多学院。

为弥合贫富差距做出贡献的、也就是输送了最多底层到上层的大学,是这些:

而我们眼中的名校们排名如下:

常青藤:

其他名校:

为什么会这样?

最近有一幅漫画,十分精辟地表现出了“贫富差距”在教育上对个人的影响:

▲  漫画原作:Toby Morris,翻译 Inga W.
「机会平等」,在教育里面是一个十分理想化的概念,当然,右侧这一栏的人通过努力和一点运气可以跳到漫画左边一栏来。但这并不是问题的关键。我们似乎也都意识到了这一点。阶层固化产生于社会的各个层面。在中产们想要挤破头把孩子送进所谓精英小学之时,更多的孩子被挡在了社会流动的可能性之外。「寒门再无可能出贵子」,并非夸张说辞。「阶层固化」的这种焦虑,贯穿于全社会。 
老实讲,买得起「学区房」的可能只占社会的 1%。然而更令我们恐惧的,不是「我特么买不起学区房」,而是穷孩子「上衡水、考一本」的机会,以后会不复存在,或者「好的教育」留给我们的可能性和想象空间恐怕也不够了。在漫画下的讨论中,有这样一段话被原作者摘出来:「我把这幅漫画当成是对于我们这种人的忠告——在生活中并不是完全靠着自己无懈可击的本事,而是靠着父母、纳税人、老师或者其他人的帮助,走到今天这一步的人。这幅漫画是想让人们意识到他们能享受到的机会,是别人无法企及的。这些他人的馈赠时刻提醒着我们成功并不仅仅属于一个人。每当想到这些感恩,我们就能多一份共情去帮助那些没有这么多机会的人;每当想到这些感恩,我们应为这个社会履行的职责就又重了一分。」 

可以改变吗?我们也不确定。我们只衷心希望,笃信教育可以改变命运、并且真正改变了命运的这一代,可以将这种信仰传递下去。

英文版
Some Colleges Have More
Students From the Top 1 Percent
Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours.

Where the top 1% and the bottom 20% go to college

Students at elite colleges are even richer than experts realized, according to a new study based on millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records.

At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent.

38 colleges had more students from the top 1 percent than the bottom 60 percent

STUDENTS FROM … THE TOP 1%
($630K+)
BOTTOM 60%
(<$65K)
1. Washington University in St. Louis 21.7 6.1
2. Colorado College 24.2 10.5
3. Washington and Lee University 19.1 8.4
4. Colby College 20.4 11.1
5. Trinity College (Conn.) 26.2 14.3
6. Bucknell University 20.4 12.2
7. Colgate University 22.6 13.6
8. Kenyon College 19.8 12.2
9. Middlebury College 22.8 14.2
10. Tufts University 18.6 11.8
These estimates are for the 1991 cohort (approximately the class of 2013). Rankings are shown for colleges with at least 200 students in this cohort, sorted here by the ratio between the two income groups.

Add your favorite colleges to the tables in this article:


Roughly one in four of the richest students attend an elite college – universities that typically cluster toward the top of annual rankings (you can find more on our definition of “elite” at the bottom).

In contrast, less than one-half of 1 percent of children from the bottom fifth of American families attend an elite college; less than half attend any college at all.

Where today’s 25-year-olds went to college, grouped by their parents’ income

About four in 10 students from the top 0.1 percent attend an Ivy League or elite university, roughly equivalent to the share of students from poor families who attend any two- or four-year college.

0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Bottom 20%2nd quintile3rd quintile4th quintileTop 20%Top 10%Top 5%Top 1%Top 0.1%Ivy plusEliteHighly selectiveSelectiveNot selectiveTwo-year or lessFor-profitNot in college by age 22Incomplete

Colleges often promote their role in helping poorer students rise in life, and their commitments to affordability. But some elite colleges have focused more on being affordable to low-income families than on expanding access. “Free tuition only helps if you can get in,” said Danny Yagan, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the authors of the study.

The study – by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner and Mr. Yagan – provides the most comprehensive look at how well or how poorly colleges have built an economically diverse student body. The researchers tracked about 30 million students born between 1980 and 1991, linking anonymized tax returns to attendance records from nearly every college in the country.

We’re offering detailed information on each of more than 2,000 American colleges on separate pages. See how your college compares – by clicking any college name like Harvard, U.C.L.A., Penn State, Texas A&M or Northern Virginia Community College – or search for schools that interest you.

At elite colleges, the share of students from the bottom 40 percent has remained mostly flat for a decade. Access to top colleges has not changed much, at least when measured in quintiles. (The poor have gotten poorer over that time, and the very rich have gotten richer.)

Access to top colleges has not changed much

Class of 200220042005200620072008200920102011201220131%2%3%4%5%6%7%8%9%10%11%12%13%Share of students at elite colleges from…the top 1%…the bottom 40%…the bottom 20%…the bottom 10%
At “elite” colleges, roughly 80 of the most selective colleges in the United States, as measured by a 2009 index created by Barron’s.

Previously, the most widely available data on the economic makeup of college students came from government statistics on Pell grants. Those grants typically go to students in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution. The government data categorizes students as qualifying for Pell grants or not, but does not distinguish between students who just miss the cutoff and those whose families make much more money.

The Obama administration and Congress have expanded Pell eligibility, which caused the number of Pell recipients at many colleges to rise. Some elite colleges pointed to this increase as a sign that they took economic diversity much more seriously than in the recent past.

But the new estimates show that much of the increase in Pell recipients stems from the expansion of the program. The students at elite colleges, at least as of 2013, were not actually much more economically diverse than in the past, though there are some exceptions.

Elite colleges that enroll the highest percentage of low- and middle-income students

COLLEGE PCT. FROM BOTTOM 40%
1. University of California, Los Angeles 19.2
2. Emory University 15.9
3. Barnard College 15.3
4. New York University 14.3
5. Vassar College 13.8
6. Bryn Mawr College 13.7
7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 13.5
8. University of Miami (Fla.) 13.1
9. Brandeis University 12.9
10. Wellesley College 12.5
Rankings are shown for “elite” colleges only.

These patterns are important because previous research has found that there are many highly qualified lower-income students who do not attend selective colleges – and because the low- and middle-income students who do attend top colleges fare almost as well as rich students.

Even though they face challenges that other students do not, lower-income students end up earning almost as much on average as affluent students who attend the same college.

Look at the remarkably relative flatness of the colored lines below. An affluent student who attends one of 12 “Ivy plus” universities (the Ivy League colleges, Duke, M.I.T., Stanford and the University of Chicago) ends up around the 80th percentile of the income distribution on average. A lower-income student who attends one of those colleges ends up around the 75th percentile. Lower-income students who attend less elite colleges also have outcomes similar to others from the same college.

Poor students who attend top colleges do about as well as their rich classmates

Poor children at elite colleges ended up at about the 75th percentile.
Their rich classmates fared only a little better.
1102030405060708090100303540455055606570758085Ivy plusOther eliteSelective publicCOLLEGE TYPEAll childrenCHILD INCOME RANKPARENT INCOME RANK
Data here comes from the 1980-82 cohort, roughly the college classes of 2002-4. By this stage in life, income ranks are relatively stable.

By contrast, the steeper gray line shows outcomes for the entire American population. Most students who grow up poor remain poor as adults, and most students who grow up affluent remain affluent.

The data above covers children born between 1980 and 1982, who are around 35 years old today. Most Americans remain in a similar place on the income distribution from their late 30s through the end of their careers, previous studies have found, so the highest-earning 36-year-olds are likely to become the highest-earning 60-year-olds, at least on average.

Even though most lower-income students fare well at elite colleges, there are relatively few of them there, so less elite colleges may be more important engines of social mobility. The researchers developed a new statistic they call a college’s mobility rate, which combines a college’s share of students from lower-income families with its success at propelling them into the upper part of the distribution.

Colleges with the highest mobility rate, from the bottom 40 percent to the top 40 percent

COLLEGE PCT. FROM BOTTOM 40% SUCCESS RATE ‘MOBILITY’
1. Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology 66.0 66.4 43.9
2. City College of New York 60.5 62.9 38.1
3. Texas A&M International University 60.7 62.4 37.9
4. Lehman College 64.6 57.0 36.8
5. Bernard M. Baruch College 52.3 69.2 36.2
6. California State University, Los Angeles 59.6 60.0 35.7
7. Crimson Technical College 55.4 64.1 35.5
8. University of Texas-Pan American 64.0 53.5 34.2
9. New York City College of Technology 66.2 50.9 33.7
10. John Jay College of Criminal Justice 54.4 61.1 33.2
Success rate measures the percent of lower-income students who ended up in the top 40 percent. Data here comes from the 1980-82 cohort, roughly the college classes of 2002-4. By this stage in life, income ranks are relatively stable.

The mobility rate captures the share of all students at a given college who both came from a lower-income family and ended up in a higher-income family. The top of this list is dominated not by elite colleges, but by mid-tier public ones, including the colleges that make up the City University of New York.

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