College tuition has exploded well beyond the rate of inflation: Since 1978, college tuition has increased more than four times — a staggering 1375 percent — the rate of inflation. It’s risen eight times faster than wages since the 1980s, according to Forbes.
“The reason people keep paying huge amounts for college is because it is assumed – and somewhat correctly, yet with lots of exceptions — that a college degree is needed to advance career-wise beyond mere economic subsistence,” Jay Schalin, director of policy analysis at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, told National Review. Statistically, college graduates still earn over 1.5 times more than those with just a high school diploma.
American society has been sold on the idea that obtaining a college degree is the key to success. “Universities are seen through rose-colored glasses,” Dr. Jenna A. Robinson, president of the Martin Center, told National Review. And the government’s backing of student loans has allowed more students to be financially viable to attend college. Children go to high school, get accepted to college, get the dream job after graduation and buy the house with the white picket fence; the process is almost formulaic. “Conventional wisdom has been pushing college-for-all for a very long time,” Robinson said. “The minute a kid hits first grade he or she is pushed toward college,” Schalin said.