Robert Maynard Hutchins, the president of the University of Chicago, worried that it would transform elite institutions into 'educational hobo jungles'. But the G.I. Bill... federal student aid... increasing state investment... transformed American higher education over the course of three decades from a bastion of privilege into a path toward the American dream. Something else began to happen around 1980. College graduation rates kept soaring for the affluent, but for those in the bottom half, a four-year degree is scarcely more attainable today than it was in the 1970s.... The demise of opportunity through higher education is, fundamentally, a political failure. Our landmark higher education policies have ceased to function effectively, and lawmakers — consumed by partisan polarization and plutocracy — have neglected to maintain and update them.