U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Bryan Nygaard/Released

In 1940, fewer than one in 20 Americans had four years of college. By 2000, it was one in four.  A college degree was once widely seen as proof of membership in the nation’s intellectual (and  financial, gender, and racial) elite. Now, being a college graduate just means someone is able to pay tuition and wake up in time for at least 50% of their classes. And still, with very few exceptions, we require degrees of our commissioned officers.

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