College costs have outpaced inflation by 27% the past five years
Among Americans ages 25 to 32, college graduates earned $17,500 more than high school graduates in 2012 — the largest pay differential ever, according to Pew Research. When it comes to earnings, "the picture is consistently bleaker for less-educated workers," the Pew study concluded.
But even as the value of a college diploma has been rising, the cost of tuition has been increasing even faster; far beyond the reach of most young people. The cost of four years of tuition, room, board, books and fees can stretch up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the pace of increase has accelerated throughout the recession and its slow recovery.
The College Board says the average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities increased by 27 percent beyond the rate of inflation over the five years from the 2008-09 academic year to 2013-14. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of tuition more than tripled between 1973 and 2013.
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