Our colleges and universities have never been truly open to everyone. But against the backdrop of a worsening high school drop-out rate and rising student debt burdens for those who do make it to college, can American higher education be saved?

Is it realistic to think that every American should go to college? The current higher educational system is in disarray, with student debt burdens on the rise and only half of students that attend four year colleges finishing in under six years, not to mention the fact that one in every five of these dropouts leaves with at least twenty thousand dollars in debt. Still, the government is reluctant to fund vocational training programs which invest in developing specialized, marketable skill sets which for some could serve as a viable alternative to the numerous financial risks that come with attending a four year college.

In this Nation Conversation, Dana Goldstein joins executive editor Betsy Reed to explore some possibles solutions to these educational problems. For more from Goldstein, read her piece in this week’s issue of The Nation, “Should All Kids Go to College?

Subscribe to Nation Conversations on iTunes for exclusive audio of Nation forums, events. seminars and salons.

Anna Lekas Miller