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Going to College – A Pipe Dream?

The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has released its latest report on the cost of a college education, and the results, unsurprisingly, are grim.  According to the New York Times, the report notes that tuition has risen 439% since 1982 while family income has only increased by 147%.  Additionally, “Student borrowing has more than doubled in the last decade, and students from lower-income families, on average, get smaller grants from the colleges they attend than students from more affluent families.”  The article notes that poorer families are being hit especially hard:

The report, “Measuring Up 2008,” is one of the few to compare net college costs — that is, a year’s tuition, fees, room and board, minus financial aid — against median family income. Those findings are stark. Last year, the net cost at a four-year public university amounted to 28 percent of the median family income, while a four-year private university cost 76 percent of the median family income.

The share of income required to pay for college, even with financial aid, has been growing especially fast for lower-income families, the report found.

Among the poorest families — those with incomes in the lowest 20 percent — the net cost of a year at a public university was 55 percent of median income, up from 39 percent in 1999-2000. At community colleges, long seen as a safety net, that cost was 49 percent of the poorest families’ median income last year, up from 40 percent in 1999-2000.

Read the full report here.

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