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CNN Tells the Stark Truth About Rising College Costs


CNN Tells the Stark Truth About Rising College Costs

I'm going to get this out of the way right up front: the time-honored American Dream of parents sending their kids off to college so they can get a higher education that will allow them to live better than they did is dead as doornail. Just how bad is it? CNN reports in an article entitled "Stop the Tuition Madness":
For parents with college-bound kids, it seems like a no-win situation. Your child is eyeing the grassy quads and Gothic dorms of Dream U., while you're staring down at a too-small 401(k), a shaky job market, and a house worth a lot less than a few years ago.

Meanwhile, colleges are bidding up tuition prices faster than a hedge fund manager at an art auction. Over the past 10 years the cost of private college has jumped more than 60%, nearly three times as much as incomes over the same period, and will now set you back $42,000 a year on average.

Prices at public colleges have shot up even more, nearly doubling to $21,000 for in-state students. Got younger kids? By 2020 you're looking at a four-year bill that's likely to top $240,000 for private schools and $155,000 at public universities. Sure there's financial aid, but scholarships aren't keeping up with tuition inflation. So long, retirement hopes; hello again, boss.

Your children will suffer, too, if they're forced to start their adult lives with onerous debt. "Student loans can affect every decision young adults make: whether they can go to graduate school, buy a house, even start a family," says Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute.
I actually have one nit to pick with that excerpt from the story. There is no way college tuitions are going to rise from their already lofty heights to those insane levels by the year 2020. It should be obvious that we are already reaching the point of Peak Higher Education, in which the mounting price tag for even a Bachelor's Degree at a public university is rising beyond what's affordable for most people even with student loans. The $155,000 figure cited as the future cost for a four-year degree is about three-and-a-half times the current median annual household income (around $45,000).

At some point, the growing consciousness that a college education no longer guarantees a good salary or even any employment at all upon graduation is going to reach critical mass, and enough students (and their parents) are going to balk at taking on a six figure debt only to end up at best waiting tables at Applebees five years later. Once that happens, the higher education system in its current form is going to collapse.

Many will lament its passing, but it really is for the better. Except in rare instances, universities long ago largely stopped being places where students could learn for knowledge's sake and expand their minds to become better citizens. Instead, a university degree had become merely a ticket that needed to be punched to gain admittance into the white collar corporate world.

The rapid rise in tuition costs, which for well more than a decade have greatly exceeded the rate of inflation, very much encouraged the transformation of our universities into mere job factories. Even if obtaining a high paying job wasn't a student's first motivation for attending college, it likely moved high on the list once they started to realize how much debt they were going to have to take on to obtain that degree. As for the colleges themselves--beyond enabling big, fat pay raises for administrators, professors and football and basketball coaches--the need to keep their cash cows from dropping out no doubt also greatly contributed to the grade inflation that has turned, for example, attaining a "B" average from a genuine academic achievement into a complete joke.

The CNN article actually goes on to propose a list of potential solutions for curbing college costs, which wouldn't be half-bad if we were still living in "normal" times. I particularly like the idea of cutting way back on the expensive college football programs. Sadly, however, like most mainstream media articles this one assumes that the system can be "saved" by making a few tweaks here and there, when in truth the effects of peak oil and resource depletion and the fact that we have now entered the age of permanent contraction means that the system itself is soon going to follow the old Communist bloc into the dustbin of history.
Entry #251


Comment by bobbya - August 1, 2012, 12:59 am
Get a college education.
Graduate college with a huge debt burden from student loans.
Stand in the unemployed lines at your local unemployment office with the many millions that don't have that college degree that you worked so hard to get.
Good Luck with that.
It's the Republican way and if you vote for Willard mitt Romney you will get more of the same on steroids!
If you still have a job look over your shoulder because your will soon be gone too if Republicans get back control of government like they had for Bush's 1st six years with out sourcer- in-chief Romney.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - August 1, 2012, 8:56 am
For what some pay for college and the meaningless degree many get they are screwed.
I just seen an article recently that the country is in need of high tech degree graduates. Where jobs are available after graduation. They even import foriegn students to fill these jobs.
Colleges are ripping off students.
sully16Comment by sully16 - August 1, 2012, 10:12 am
College tuition is on the rise because the government is footing the bill via the tax payers, the government has no business being in the loan business, they are doing more to hurt these kids then help.
So what do you want now? the government who created the problem to force colleges to lower the bill?
Welcome to socialism.
You don't want freedom, you want free, guess what ? the government who can give you everything you want can take away everything you have.
When the government decides our life every step of the way, we will be kept down in ways you can't even imagine.
TenajComment by Tenaj - August 1, 2012, 10:58 am
This happened during the Bush Admin. College kids don't want it free - just affordable loans. Obama stopped the banks from camping out on college campuses. Kids are coming out with a lot of credit card debt too. Obama is trying to help bring the interest rates down and better terms on student loans to make them affordable. Romney's solution is "shop around" Now college kids can be on their parent's insurance until 26.
sully16Comment by sully16 - August 1, 2012, 11:08 am
Wasn't happy about it then, what Obama is doing is damage control, to many kids not repaying the loans and the government is getting screwed.
At 22, I already had a mortgage, a job and I worked my way through college, had a car payment. took 6 years to get an associates degree, no college debt at all.
Most companies will drop employee insurance, there's no way they are going to foot the bill for their employees kids to be on insurance an extra 8 years, paying the fine will be cheaper, those parents will be forced to buy coverage for themselves and their kids, or pay the fine.
At 18, those kids should be all grown up, and ready to go out on the own, at 26, if you still need mommy and daddy, your doomed.
TenajComment by Tenaj - August 1, 2012, 12:24 pm
26 on medical insurance is for kids who go to grad school, get masters, and PHDs. If employers drop health insurance people will be able to get better and cheaper insurance elsewhere. What you said is a Republican lie. At 18 kids will have what was taught, learned, exposed to, and experienced. If it was good stuff then they will stand a good chance of growing up to become well balanced adults. Right now the way the student loans are after 4 years of college, the student loan payment is hundreds of dollars more than their rent, many are forced to go home and live with mom and dad. The government shotup (bush admin) the amount of student loans (thew them out the william ford) from 15K to 88K, they couldn't pay it back. So I guess they need to shop around like Romney said.

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