Looking at the historical rise of college tuition versus the prices of, well, everything else…
Since 1982 a typical family income increased by 147%, more than inflation but significantly behind the huge increase in college costs. College costs have been rising roughly at a rate of 7% per year for decades. Since 1985, the overall consumer price index has risen 115% while the college education inflation rate has risen nearly 500%. According to Gordon Wadsworth, author of The College Trap
“…if the cost of college tuition was $10,000 in 1986, it would now cost the same student over $21,500 if education had increased as much as the average inflation rate but instead education is $59,800 or over 2½ times the inflation rate.”
Blunting these increases is a rise in federal student aid including tax credits and deductions. And nearly two thirds of undergraduates now receive some sort of grant aid and student loan borrowing is on the upswing. But loans must be paid back so the pain of payment is only delayed.
And noting that student loan debt is now as big as the U.S. junk bond market…
Are we just fucked? Is college going to be infinitely expensive in the future?
How the heck does this continue to work in a sane society, where people value higher education? Something has to give here … right?