While college has long been viewed as the primary pathway to upward mobility, recent debates about higher education have called into question its utility and relevance in the new risk society. Is a college degree truly worth it, and, if so, for whom? Who enrolls in college and what are their reasons for doing so? How do access to, and experiences of, higher education vary by race, class, and gender? Finally, how do increasing tuition rates along with a growing reliance on student loans to finance a college degree affect graduates’ transitions to adulthood? And what does all of this mean for the role of higher education in the American Dream? Through an examination of research and policy trends in higher education, students will discuss and debate the answers to these and other questions. Working in pairs or small groups, students will design and implement a study on a chosen theme, problem, or policy related to college life. Study results will be shared at the end of the term in the form of a research report and presentation. Students who have taken the 2000-level “Sociology of Education” and/or a social science course that addresses research methods will find themselves well prepared for this course.