Register for Author Meets Critics: "Bankers in the Ivory Tower: The Troubling Rise of Financiers in US Higher Education," 2/3/2022, 12pm Pacific
Please register below for the February 3, 2022 "Authors Meet Critics" panel discussion focused on the book, "Bankers in the Ivory Tower: The Troubling Rise of Financiers in US Higher Education," by Charlie Eaton, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. Professor Eaton will be joined in conversation by Emmanuel Saez, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Equitable Growth at UC Berkeley, and Jonathan Glater, Professor of Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law.

This event will be held online via Zoom. We will send a link to registrants prior to the event.


Elite colleges have long played a crucial role in maintaining social and class status in America while public universities have offered a major stepping-stone to new economic opportunities. However, as Charlie Eaton reveals in Bankers in the Ivory Tower, finance has played a central role in the widening inequality in recent decades, both in American higher education and in American society at large.

With federal and state funding falling short, the US higher education system has become increasingly dependent on financial markets and the financiers that mediate them. Beginning in the 1980s, the government, colleges, students, and their families took on multiple new roles as financial investors, borrowers, and brokers. The turn to finance, however, has yielded wildly unequal results. At the top, ties to Wall Street help the most elite private schools achieve the greatest endowment growth through hedge fund investments and the support of wealthy donors. At the bottom, takeovers by private equity transform for-profit colleges into predatory organizations that leave disadvantaged students with massive loan debt and few educational benefits. And in the middle, public universities are squeezed between incentives to increase tuition and pressures to maintain access and affordability. Eaton chronicles these transformations, making clear for the first time just how tight the links are between powerful financiers and America’s unequal system of higher education.


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