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The Daily Tar Heel
View from the Hill

Income divide in four year colleges vs. community college

	<p>Courtesy of the Hamilton Project/Brookings Institution</p>
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Courtesy of the Hamilton Project/Brookings Institution

Last week, President Barack Obama apologized after saying studying a skilled trade might be better than studying art history.

Job training has been a large emphasis by both parties in recent years. Gov. Pat McCrory has emphasized utilizing community colleges and vocational schools to strengthen the state’s workforce.

But last year, a study by the Hamilton Project, which is part of the Brookings Institution, showed an uneven income divide between attendance at community colleges, competitive universities and most-competitive schools.

As the chart shows, a little more than 40 percent of students with no post-secondary education are in the bottom quartile of income level. And 30 percent of community college students are in the bottom quartile of income level — less than 10 percent of students attend the most competitive universities.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of students at the most-competitive universities are likely from the top quartile.

The study doesn’t take into account the fact that many students might attend community college and then transfer to a four-year institution.

While the discussion among policy- and law-makers has been focused on alternative routes of education, it has not addressed how access to those avenues is distributed.

View from the Hill is a political blog by Daily Tar Heel staff writers. Any opinion expressed in it does not represent the Daily Tar Heel. Email the blog coordinator at

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