Since education is based upon the ideals of opportunity for all and higher personal advancement, increased tuition costs ruin the promise of education and make it only available to the elite members of society.
Education is supposed to be meritocratic in nature and that means that people are accepted into universities and colleges across this country based on their abilities and not the wealth of their parents. Education is the way in which people break through social barriers like class and privilege. Is it true that education is merit-based? Is it true that America’s ideas about higher education are based upon the notion that it allows people to advance, progress and move forward in life? A basic idea behind the sociology of education is that it promotes greater equality and is based upon merit and equal opportunity for all. The expansion of education in the past two hundred years in the United States is an incredible advance which has supposed increased social equality and made society a better place. Less than one hundred years ago, the educational institutions of this country were closed to women, ethnic minorities such as African-Americans and a whole bunch of other social groups. What is amazing is that while a long time ago educational opportunities were denied to more than 50% of the population, today education is supposed to be available to all. Education is supposed to promote social equality and when tuition is high and out of reach for many students, it promotes division based on social class and limits the opportunities for many qualified students (Conley, 59-72).
Looking at the opportunities associated with higher education, academics Persell & Cookson studied education and privilege. They determined that through education “the transmission of privilege is central to the reproduction of an