Rising college tuition costs mean that higher education is getting further out of financial reach for many Americans, and the popularity of student loans has skyrocketed in recent years, according to data released Wednesday by a national public policy center.
In recent years, steep rises in the cost of a college education have well outpaced increases in salaries and family incomes, especially for middle-income and low-income families, according to Measuring Up 2008: The National Report Card on Higher Education, from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Results of the report also show that the rate of borrowing to pay for college has more than doubled over the last 10 years, and that lower-income families receive less money in grants and other financial aid that might cover the cost of college education.
The New York Times reports that, from 1982 to 2007 “published college tuition and fees increased 439 percent . . . while median family income rose 147 percent.” And according to the Wall Street Journal, “hefty tuition increases are on the drawing boards in many states, while private student lending has shrunk sharply amid a broader credit crunch. Together, the pressures are threatening to restrict access to higher education at a time when the economic crisis is driving more Americans to seek new degrees or additional training, a common reaction in a downturn.”