Wednesday, December 03, 2008

College Soon Unaffordable by Most Americans


[P]ublished college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, adjusted for inflation, while median family income rose 147 percent. 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.

“If we go on this way for another 25 years, we won’t have an affordable system of higher education,” said Patrick M. Callan, president of the center, a nonpartisan organization that promotes access to higher education. "Already, we’re one of the few countries where 25- to 34-year-olds are less educated than older workers."

{ snip }

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.

NYT


We can't blame this on George W, so it probably won't be popular, thus qualifies for this blog.

The article speaks for itself: education costs are skyrocketing. Why? Well, among other things, schools now have higher costs. They have to promote themselves as businesses, so throw money into publishing and PR. They have to deal with affirmative action legislation and a politicized campus that demands new majors -- majors which are unlikely to make affluent students who will donate a lot to the campus. And finally, there's an assload of legal action and lawsuits.

We've been treating education like our auto industry: as something that "just exists" and so we can take from it without worrying it will go away (come to think of it, we treat nature the same way -- a denial of time and thus mortality). Finally, we realize the bills are rising, but now it's too late.

What could corrupt our mentality so, that we'd deny the obvious for four decades and then self-destruct?

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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