September 28, 2012
College tuition is going up. By a lot. This Bloomberg chart shows tuition fees increasing four times faster than the Consumer Price Index over the past three decades, and nearly twice as fast as medical expenses. The recent data is even worse, with costs increasing even faster than before since the mid-2000s.
Apologists for the current higher-ed system argue that this isn’t really a problem. The tuition increases aren’t as bad as they look because few students actually pay the full sticker price. Most get some form of financial aid, whether Pell Grants or low-interest loans.
A study by the Pew Research Center demolishes that argument, however, and shows clearly that educational debt burden is crushing America’s young. The study reports that one in five American households is now saddled with student debt, 15 percent more than in 2007. And the amount of debt households are carrying has also grown: the average debt burden is now more than $26,000.
Worst of all, the debt burden is heaviest for those who can least afford to carry it.
If any other industry were doing this sort of thing, we’d see calls for boycotts and disinvestment at campuses across America. Meanwhile, some remedial reading.