It’s Too Expensive to Go to College Anymore

According to the [United States] Census Bureau, there are 59 million people 25 years or older who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Business [remains] the most popular major, with 12 million [graduates], while [e]ducation [is] the second most popular, with 8 million [graduates]. The median income for high school [graduates]—[those] who [have] never [gone] to college—is $28,659 [annually]. [F]or those with some college [education] but no degree, it is $32,036 [per year], [while] those with a college degree [earn] $49,648 [annually], and those with professional degrees [bring home] $87,356. This translates [into average] lifetime earnings of $3.3 million for a doctoral degree, $2.3 million for a college degree and $1.3 million for a high school diploma.

According to, the average yearly budget to attend an in-state public university is $22,261, [and t]he average [to attend] a private college is $43,289. CNN reports that the average college student in the class of 2013 faces $35,200 in debt. Putting that into perspective, the profile of the average U.S. household consumer debt shows we all owe $15,263 in credit card debt, $147,591 in mortgage debt and $31,646 in student loan debt. In total, American consumers [currently] owe $11.15 trillion in debt, of which $994 billion is in student loans, a 4% increase from 2012.

In an article in The Huffington Post this summer, [the author] predicted that student loan debt will exceed the median annual income for college grads by 2023. This is on top of the wages of college graduates actually dropping 5.4% over the last decade. Considering that Congress [has] finally agreed […], after months of haggling, to stabilize the interest rate for college loans, […] at least the uncertainty of future interest [rate] hikes has been eliminated for families facing this huge debt.

Just about every parent (94%) says they want their child to attend college, [s]o, with that encouragement, nearly 68% of high school graduates [have] started out for college (44% of these kids to community college). Compare that to 43% of Americans [who] attend church regularly and 50% of adults [who] are married [currently, and] [c]ollege is now more popular [than] religion or spouses!

In the end, only 54% of these kids actually graduate within six years of starting college, [s]o we have all these students with high hopes and dreams going in, but only about half graduate and join society with crazy student loan debt.

We would all love scholarships for our kids, but that does not happen to most. This weak economy of ours is forcing institutions to limit their generosity in scholarships and financial aid, so the average student takes on more debt than the generation before. Anyone wanting to go to college needs to explore every option for help. The Council for Opportunity in Education is a nonprofit organization […] dedicated to expanding college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, veterans and students with disabilities. Sites to help find money and scholarships include Fast Web, FinAid and Student Aid Alliance. If you want to help fulfill kids’ dreams of going to college, look into Scholarship America to help with a donation. […]

America is the land of dreams and opportunity. Anyone who is passionate enough to want a college education should be afforded the opportunity to at least try. It would be just great if we could make a college education free just like we do a high school education, but each of us in our right mind knows this is a pipe dream, [s]o the $35,000 in student debt will turn into $45,000 for the next generation and so on. A college degree is worth a million dollars more than a high school degree over your lifetime. Being well-educated is priceless. I guess the risk of adding to your debt may be worth the reward of being a strong contributor to our economic future. I just wish it did not hurt so much.

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