The cost of a college education has been skyrocketing of the past few years. It has made college increasingly unaffordable for the poor, and has buried middle class graduates in mountain of debt.
How bad is it? Well, let us take a look at the rising cost of college and the increasing burden of debt.
According to the national center for educational statistics in 2005-2006 the average cost of tuition and room and board at degree granting institutions was $14, 634. In 2010-11 it was $18,497. These numbers adjust for inflation. This means in 5 years the cost of college increased 27% above inflation. This number includes the cheaper community college, the price goes up for 4 year public schools, even more at for profit schools, and nonprofit private schools were in 2010-11 an average of $36,300. If you are reading this and you are attending a private nonprofit college you are paying double what you should be, and probably aren’t smart enough to be in college. The number of student’s receiving scholarships has dropped significantly as well; meaning students have to borrow more to cover their expenses.
On the other side of the problem is student loan debt. According to the New York Fed the average student loan debt for people under 30 in 2012 was $20, 825; an increase of 56% since 2005. This means student loan debt outpaced inflation at about 5.5% a year. In the same time period overall student loan debt increased 148% to $902 billion dollars. Why is the New York Fed tracking this? They are the wing of the fed that is most directly affected by financial crises, and anyone with half a brain can see this one coming a mile away.
I have only my personal experience in various capacities with a number of Universities to guide me on this, but one of the problems they face in an inability to get part-time jobs while in college. The jobs off campus are increasingly held by older workers unable to find other employment, and jobs on campus that were once held by students are increasingly held by recent graduates of the institutions grad school. Giving jobs to recent recipients of master’s degrees is a way to make a graduate degree appear as it has some value. The schools will argue they need expertise in these jobs, but remember 15 years ago they were done by students working part time. This means students have to borrow money to live on in addition to the actual cost of college. This makes the avalanche even deeper.