How the cost of college went from affordable to sky-high

By Claudio Sanchez If you want to get an earful about paying for college, listen to parents from states where tuition and fees have skyrocketed in the last five years. In Arizona, for example, parents have seen a 77 percent increase in costs. In Georgia, it’s 75 percent, and in Washington state, 70 percent. Even in Oklahoma, where tuition increases have been among the lowest in the nation, parents are dismayed. In Stillwater, Okla., Jeffery Corbett’s daughter is attending community college. Corbett, a fundraiser for a nonprofit, says a high school diploma just won’t get you very far. And he knows; he doesn’t have a college degree. “I think about it all the time, because I realize [how] it has limited me, by not having that piece of paper,” he says. And that, experts say, is the source of parents’ frustration today. A college education seems unaffordable at the worst possible time — when “people are really struggling,” says Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute who has spent much of her career studying trends in college costs. “The unemployment rate is high. Nobody’s wages have gone up in recent years,” she adds. “Increases in college tuition at public colleges, particularly in recent years, have really been unacceptable. And there’s no question that that is a much higher percentage of median [family] incomes than it used to be.” And yet, Baum says, somehow, families are paying for it. “And the reason people are paying for it is because the return to the investment is so high.” No matter what a higher education costs them, most Americans think it will be worth it, she says. Read the entire article here: http://www.npr.org/2014/03/18/290868013/how-the-cost-of-college-went-from-affordable-to-sky-high

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