Cost Of College Has Risen 1,120 Percent In 30 Years

The cost of a college education has risen by 1,120 percent over the past 30 years, a sign that the educational system needs a reform, according to lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum.

College tuition fees have increased 12 fold since 1978, according to Bloomberg, who notes that this growth rate is four tiems faster than the increase in the consumer price index. For comparison, medical expenses have climbed by 601 percent, while food prices have risen 244 percent.

Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, stated:

“Soaring tuition and shrinking incomes are making college less and less affordable. For millions of young people, rising college costs are putting the American dream on hold, or out of reach.”

Harkin and top committee republican Mike Enzi addressed Congress in July to discuss ways to curb the cost of college education. The Huffington Post notes that earlier this year, the AP reported that the average tuition at a four-year public university had increased 15 percent between 2008 and 2010, most likely because of state budget cuts. Private universities have also seen a significant price increase.

With the rise of college tuition costs, as well as news by the same committee that universities are spending more money on getting students to attend their school than they are on actually getting them a degree, it is imperative, according to Sen. Harkin, that we reform the higher education system.

With the national student loan debt hitting $1 trillion, some people are even wondering if college is worth the cost anymore. Education Secretary Arne Duncan believes that lowering the cost of college needs to be a country-wide priority. Duncan added:

“As a nation, we need more college graduates in order to stay competitive in the global economy. But if the costs keep on rising, especially at a time when family incomes are hurting, college will become increasingly unaffordable for the middle class.”

Are you worried about the rising cost of college? What do you think we should do to change this trend?

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