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"The best book yet on the complex lives and choices of for-profit students." --The New York Times Book Review As featured on The Daily Show, NPR's Marketplace, and Fresh Air, the "powerful, chilling tale" (Carol Anderson, author of White Rage) of higher education becoming an engine of social inequality Published to rave reviews and a flurry of media buzz--including a laudatory tweet from none other than Oprah herself--Lower Ed is quickly becoming the definitive book on an economic and social phenomenon that has shaken the very core of opportunity in America. With sharp insight and deliberate acumen, Tressie McMillan Cottom, an associate professor of sociology who was once a recruiter at two for-profit colleges, expertly parses the fraught dynamics of the big-money industry of for-profit colleges, the fastest-growing sector of higher education at the turn of the twenty-first century. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews with students, employees, executives, and activists, Lower Ed details the benefits, pitfalls, and real costs of the expansion of for-profit colleges. Featured by Newsweek, The Atlantic, Vibe magazine, Mother Jones, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, Pacific Standard, and several other outlets, this is a smart, essential look at our nation's broken social contracts and the challenges we face in our divided, unequal society.