The Rising Cost of Education

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The cost of higher education in the United States has skyrocketed over the past decade or so, leading to a number of social problems including deep debts among graduates. As a result, the value of higher education is being increasingly called into question. Earnings and job outlooks for graduates has grown grimmer over the past decade or two, while those same graduates are more in debt than their parents would have been for the same educational program. Greater debt plus fewer options for paying it off has contributed to the crippling economy. A downward spiral is in motion: one that can only be stopped by rethinking the cost of education and the role the government plays in funding education for low-income students. Higher education remains a potentially valuable investment, but the rising cost of education is diminishing the net worth of graduates, hurting the economy, and creating a host of social ills. College and university students are borrowing more money, more often. About 60% of all graduates have borrowed to fund their education, up from 52% in 1996 (Hinze-Pifer & Fry, 2010). Students are also borrowing more money when they do take out loans, due to the rising costs of tuition and living expenses. According to Hinze-Pifer & Fry (2010), the average loan for a bachelor's degree in 1996 was $17,000, and it was $7,600 for an associate's degree or certificate. By 2008, those numbers jumped to $12,600 in loans for associate's degree or certificate recipients and to
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