I recently shocked someone by saying it may not be worth it for him to send his kid to college. He got quite huffy, basically saying it was important as a parent to bankrupt yourself for your children’s future. I said it didn’t make sense to me, especially now. I said if I had young kids now, I’d encourage them to be plumbers or electricians:

That’s what The Daily, News Corp. and Apple’s daily news outlet for the iPad, calculated a college education could cost members of the class of 2034—children born this year, for the most part—if they attend one of the nation’s priciest schools. But even an average public university will cost $81,000 for four years if tuition hikes continue at current rates—which are increasing much faster than inflation. As tuition continues to go up, and even the president calls for solutions, some are looking at radical possibilities for keeping tuition down—or even eliminating it.

The Daily found that tuition has been increasing even faster at public schools than private—4.5 percent a year for public universities and only 3.5 percent for private. According to Jane Wellman of the Delta Project, which studies the cost of higher education, public schools have been relying on tuition rather than endowments to make up for state education budget cuts.

That last statement shouldn’t be surprising—with the Age of Austerity upon us, cuts have been coming fast and hard to state university budgets. Last year, the University of California system saw a $500 million reduction in the support it gets from Sacramento, a 16.4 percent drop.

With support for public universities dwindling in the ongoing economic slump, the cost of college is falling on the shoulders of families and on the students themselves, who are increasingly forced to mortgage their future on student loans that will follow them for the rest of their lives.

Family incomes certainly haven’t kept up with the rise in college costs—The Dailynotes that family incomes, adjusted for inflation have only grown by 1 percent since 1987, and the median family wage is down from 2009. Poverty is at an 18-year high. And while Rick Santorum might be attempting to burnish his working-class credentials telling audiences that President Obama is a “snob” for saying that he wants everyone to go to college, Catherine Rampell at the New York Times notes that college graduates’ incomes are actually going up in comparison to those of high school grads.

2 Responses to $422,320

  1. Woodsider January 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    There will always be some people who would do better with vocational training instead of a college degree. They have a temperment and interests better suited to high-level mechanical and more physical trades. This is not to say these people are not intelligent — their talents go in different directions and they should be supported and encouraged. I have never thought that college was a plus for everyone. We need to get away from the idea that everyone must go to college.

    I needed the college degree because I stutter and needed the credential to underscore my abilities and intelligence.

  2. Tom January 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    i’ve been saying that for YEARS now – an i teach college students! Right now it’s impractical for many students to just go to college and get some degree in, say liberal arts, hell even the humanities are having trouble finding jobs. What i’ve suggested to college students is that they start thinking about creating they’re own job – become entrepreneurial, find a niche or a need and fill it. Some examples i’ve used:
    dog walking and pet-sitting services didn’t exist a few years ago. i found i guy who picks up poop for a living!

    People have to start imagining themselves doing something, making something, building something – and that’s the part of education that isn’t taught! They have to focus on their talents, likes, personality, communication skills, etc. and come up with their own solution.

    Lots of jobs that already exist can be made mobile. For example, i want my bike fixed but don’t want to shlep it to the bike shop (opportunity for someone to do it for a reasonable price – pick up and delivery only, unless they want to fix it too – just add talent & experience).

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