Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Paying For College: No Easy Answers For Many Families --- Among Americans ages 25 to 32, college graduates earned $17,500 more than high school graduates in 2012 — the largest pay differential ever, according to Pew Research. When it comes to earnings, "the picture is consistently bleaker for less-educated workers," the Pew study concluded. -- But even as the value of a college diploma has been rising, the cost of tuition has been increasing even faster — far beyond the reach of most young people. The cost of four years of tuition, room, board, books and fees can stretch up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the pace of increase has accelerated throughout the recession and slow recovery. -- The College Board says the average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities increased by 27 percent beyond the rate of inflation over the five years from the 2008-09 academic year to 2013-14. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of tuition more than tripled between 1973 and 2013. -- That reality has been forcing more and more students to take on staggering debts. Among all students who graduated from four-year colleges in 2012, seven in 10 left with debt. -- And that debt load is heavy — an average of nearly $30,000 each, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. Just 20 years ago, fewer than half of college students graduated with debt, and the amount was less than $10,000 on average. -- Such statistics can be especially daunting for lower-income families. --- "Unfortunately, there are still a lot of young people all across the country who say the cost of college is holding them back," President Obama said earlier this month at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami. -- He was there to tout an initiative to help students complete their applications for federal student aid, such as Pell grants and loans. Obama also wanted to call attention to his request to have Congress spend $100 million to support strategies for making college more affordable. --- Does college really need to be so expensive? What can families do in the face of such staggering costs? - NPR, at: http://www.npr.org/2014/03/17/290249557/paying-for-college-no-easy-answers-for-many-families


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