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Inequality and Higher Education: A Conversation with Dr. Laura Perna


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Dr. Laura W. Perna is James S. Riepe Professor and founding Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also chair of the Higher Education Division of the Graduate School of Education and faculty fellow of the Institute for Urban Research. She is currently President (2014-2015) of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and she served as Vice President of the American Educational Research Association’s Division J (Postsecondary Education) from 2010 to 2013.  She holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and she earned her master’s in public policy and Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan. Her research examines the ways that social structures, educational practices, and public policies promote and limit college access and success, particularly for individuals from lower-income families and racial/ethnic minority groups.