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“I knew that I had come from this very dark place — I was abhorrent to society,” said Michelle Jones, a Ph.D. candidate at N.Y.U. who was released from prison in August after serving 20 years. “But for 20 years, I’ve tried to do right, because I was still interested in the world, and because I didn’t believe my past made me somehow cosmically un-educatable forever.”
In Georgia, undocumented students are barred from the state’s top public schools. Together, students and professors decided to start a freedom school to help fill the academic void. By consensus, the group chose the name Freedom University. It recalled the activism of the past, and, on T-shirts, it also made for a gratifying taunt: “F.U. Georgia.”
Despite the tax breaks and the flood of cash to Wall Street, many of the universities that benefit from the subsidies have refused to use their additional endowment resources to expand enrollment, admit more low-income students or lower their tuition rates.