Tamar Lewin’s article in The New York Times, “College May Become Unaffordable for Most in U.S.,” should scare the daylights out of anyone who is entertaining the idea of sending their children to college because it says that college in the near future may be out of reach for most families. This news was garnered from a National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education report.
Today, a college education is not an option, it is a necessity. Education continues all through a person’s life due to the constant changing in the world of technology.
Lewin’s article evaluates the data from The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education report, “Measuring Up 2008,” which is unique in that it measures net costs, that is, a year’s tuition, fees and, room and board less financial aid.
The concern over our country’s college costs starts with the fact that while median income has risen 147 percent from 1982 to 2007, college costs have risen 439 percent.
Further concern emanates from the United States’ economic status. Previous to the recession, parents have pretty much borrowed to get their kids through school. Now, money is tight and that will no doubt ruin some kid’s chances for a college education, at least immediately.
In 2007 the use of student loans had already doubled in the face of shrinking college aids such as scholarships and grants.
When the recession wanes, the concern is we will have a group of 25- to 34-year-olds that will be behind older workers.
The current net numbers are daunting. A public education costs 28 percent of a family’s median income which is more than the recommended house payment. Private education is unbelievable coming in at 76 percent.
While the general feeling is that families will weather the storm in the very near future, it won’t be long before a college education will be unaffordable. What will that do to our job market, not to mention our comparative expertise in the global economy?
When I left the service in the early 1970s I had the G.I. Bill. This paid my tuition. I got a job. After I obtained my first degree, my company promoted me and I was told point-blank that I had not been considered for the promotion until I showed I could finish the degree.
Since I was experienced in my field, I asked my superiors what the big deal about a piece of paper. Their response was surprising.
For an employer a degree not only gives you more knowledge, but it shows them you finish what you start. Also, by having to adjust to different professors, a student gets in the habit of solving problems.
There are colleges who know how to keep costs down. Perhaps one way would be to discontinue funding super-expensive sports programs and concentrate on their original mission: Education.