Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
A new study comparing college tuition with family income has found that tuition has more than doubled relative to income in the past four decades. More from Newsweek:
That cost includes tuition, fees, and room and board for full-time students at degree-granting institutions—for both public and private colleges and universities. Back then, the average cost came to $9,502 after adjusting for inflation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2012, the average was $19,339. With a typical family earning $51,017—the U.S. median income—college tuition for just one child will absorb almost 40 percent of their income. That surpasses housing as the single biggest household expense.
If college costs were rising along with family income, there wouldn’t be a problem. But college costs have risen way ahead of income. There are several reasons. For starters, administration costs have been growing rapidly on most campuses. In part this has to do with an explosion in applications and enrollments, which require more resources. But salaries of administrators, particularly those in charge, seem out of line with the rest of the institution. It’s not unheard of for compensation of the president of a large university to approach $1 million. Meanwhile, campuses have seen a boom in infrastructure spending to upgrade student facilities like gyms, student centers and dorms. Finally, many public universities have offset cuts in state aid by raising fees.
Of course, the price of college varies greatly depending on where you go, and whether the institution is public or private. Almost three-quarters of Americans attend public universities and colleges, where costs have been rising quickly but still remain far less than private institutions. In 1969, public colleges and universities charged an average of $7,206, compared with $14,292 in 2012, after adjusting for inflation. By contrast, private institutions averaged $15,329 back then, vs. $33,047 in 2012.
Today, the cost of a private college or university would be unattainable for most families if they didn’t get substantial financial aid. At elite colleges and universities, the cost is considerably more than what a typical family earns. Without financial aid, a single year at Princeton can set you back $58,965.
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Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
A growing number of young adults are stuck in what analysts are calling a “worst case scenario,” in which they are stifled by debt from college loans, but they never finished their degrees. More from NBC News:
According to a 2011 study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, only 56 percent of students who enter four-year programs graduate within six years. That number plunges to 22 percent for for-profit colleges. Meanwhile, the percentage of incoming students relying on loans is growing—from 2001 to 2009, the number increased from 47 percent to 53 percent, according to a report by Education Sector. The same report also found that borrowers who drop out are four times more likely to default on their loans.
Some of these dropouts grew up middle class with an expectation of getting a degree, like [Christopher and Harmony] Glenn. Others are students from low-income backgrounds, perhaps the first in their families to go to college. Michelle Obama recently launched an effort to encourage these first-timers to pursue higher education, but the odds are stacked against them: Pell grants and funding for state and city universities continue to shrink. Forty percent of students at four-year colleges, and 60 percent at community colleges, are working 20 hours or more to make up for these gaps, according to the Pell Institute.
“A lot of these kids come up against this wall of bureaucracy,” said Jennifer Silva, author of Coming Up Short, a book about working-class young adults. “They lack mentors to help them navigate the system” of admissions, financial aid, and choosing classes. “It ends up leaving them feeling kind of betrayed.”
Image: College debt, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
The cost of center-based child care exceeds the cost of tuition at state colleges in a number of states, due as much to rising child care costs as to slightly declining state college tuitions. More from CNN Money:
Last year, average center-based child care costs rose by nearly 3% nationwide, according to a report from the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America. Full-time care for an infant ranged from a high of $16,430 a year in Massachusetts to $4,863 in Mississippi. Meanwhile, center-based care for a four-year-old hit a high of $12,355 in Massachusetts and a low of $4,312 in Mississippi.
Why such huge price disparities? Blame it on differences in labor costs, state regulations and cost of living expenses, such as housing, food and utilities.
For example, Massachusetts has strict child care regulations that require one teacher for every three infants, compared to one teacher per five infants in Mississippi. Meanwhile, child care centers in New York City, among one of the most expensive places for child care in the country, pay significantly higher rents and also must meet strict state standards.
“In order to meet those (standards), it costs money,” said Jessica Klos Shapiro, public policy and communications coordinator at the nonprofit Early Care & Learning Council, which advocates for families across New York state.
The centers are also grappling with ballooning operational costs, ranging from rising insurance costs to higher food prices, said Lynette Fraga, Child Care Aware’s executive director.
As a result, child care costs grew by as much as eight times the rate of family incomes last year, the report said. And they continue to take a major chunk out of family budgets, often representing a household’s largest monthly expense.
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Image: Kids at day care, via Shutterstock
Friday, April 26th, 2013
A growing number of American high school students are expanding their college searches to include Canadian universities that offer quality educations without the staggering pricetags many American colleges carry. NBC News has more:
About one in six people who owe money on their student loans is in default. Such a debt load is a harsh reality that is forcing a growing number of young people to look north to Canada for an education they can better afford.
Six percent of McGill’s student body is American, and the ranks are growing. The number of U.S. students at Canadian colleges rose 50 percent in a decade, and now about 10,000 Americans attend Canadian colleges, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.
That institute also says graduates from an American university can expect, on average, to carry more than $26,000 in debt. And about 9 percent of those grads default on student loans within two years.
The largest cost of going to school in the United States is the tuition, which is astronomical compared to Canada. At schools such as the University of Chicago and New York University, the annual tuition tops $40,000, far above their Canadian counterparts, which benefit from a tradition of robust government support.
Image: Canadian flag, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
The cost of college is a source of anxiety for virtually every family with children, and amid growing calls to stem the tide of skyrocketing tuition prices, a growing number of colleges and universities are taking steps to freeze or reduce the cost of attending their schools. From The Hechinger Report:
After three decades of tuition hikes that have outpaced inflation and increases in family income, students, families, legislators and governing boards are demanding a halt.
“Enough is enough,” says Anne Mariucci, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, which for the first time in 20 years has frozen in-state tuition at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University after increases over the last five years of 84 and 96 percent, respectively.
Some private universities, too, have agreed to stop raising their tuition, or even cut it, after being alarmed to discover their enrollments starting to slip.
A proposed amendment to the California constitution would ban public universities from raising tuition for students who have already enrolled, and debates are under way in Texas and Massachusetts to take similar steps at their public universities.
Image: Graduate holding piggy bank, via Shutterstock.
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