A new report highlights all the ways the racial wealth gap is exacerbated by America’s higher education system.
In a 2015 TV spot, comedian Steve Harvey told a room full of people that if they didn’t like their lives, they should change them. “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re gonna keep getting what you’ve been getting,” he said. “Make the decision to move your life forward, go to a place that can help you get it done, and go see what else life’s got for you.”
It sounds like the kind of boilerplate inspirational messaging you’d expect from the host of Family Feud. But the commercial was part of an ad campaign from Strayer University, a for-profit school that has marketed itself to people of color; another ad featuring an inspirational Queen Latifah speech and shots of ecstatic Black people. There’s reason to be skeptical about the life-changing potential of a Strayer education: According to the Brookings Institution, graduates from Strayer hold more total student debt than those of the notoriously expensive New York University, and they struggle to pay back their loans on a median salary of about $46,000.