||"Higher education has always played a crucial role in maintaining elite status in American culture. Historically, it has also been a way for Americans to transform their social and class status, and public universities have been a major stepping stone to new economic opportunities. However, as Charlie Eaton reveals in Bankers in the Ivory Tower, finance is playing a central role in widening inequality both in American higher education and in American society at large. With federal and state funding falling short, the US higher education system has become increasingly dependent on financial markets and the financial organizations which mediate them. At the same time, the nation's most exclusive colleges have embedded America's ascendant financiers in social networks, a common culture, and shared identities with the country's broader elite. Financiers leveraged these elite ties in pushing for policy and organizational changes that would lead to profits for the top 1% such as the expansion student loans, hedge funds marketed to college endowments, investor-owned for-profit colleges, and bond borrowing by not-for-profit universities. Beginning in the 1980s, government, colleges, students, and their families took on multiple new roles as financial investors, borrowers, and brokers. The turn to finance, however, has yielded wildly unequal results. At the top, ties to Wall Street helped the most elite private schools achieve the greatest endowment growth through hedge fund investments and the support of wealthy donors. At the bottom, takeovers by private equity transformed for-profit colleges into predatory organizations that leave disadvantaged students with massive loan debt and few educational benefits. And in the middle, public universities like the University of California system were squeezed between incentives to increase tuition and pressures to maintain access and affordability. Eaton chronicles these processes with rich history, interviews, and numbers, making clear for the first time just how tight the links are between big finance and America's highly unequal system of higher education"-- Provided by publisher.