Tilghman sees equal opportunity in education as a major issue. There is clearly a major gap between rich and poor in the US, and universities that care about equal opportunity have to make a concerted effort to attract all kinds of students. She also attributes equal opportunity in America, this far, to the revolutionary idea of a free public education.
I worry about the degree to which our striving for free public education has really been diminished in this country. I think the same thing could be true about the great state universities. They were created so that every individual capable of doing work at the university level would have an opportunity to go to college. As those state colleges and universities are being financially squeezed by their state legislatures, they have only one choice, and that is to raise tuition. And as they raise tuition, those state colleges and universities become less and less accessible to those who are in the bottom of the income bracket.
Recorded on: 8/7/07