College tuition, net of subsidies, is 11.1 times higher in 2015 than in 1980, dramatically higher than the 2.5 increase in overall personal consumption over the period. For private education, from pre-K through secondary, prices are 8.5 times higher now than in 1980. For public schools, the rise is lower—4.7 from 1980 to 2013
—but still far above general inflation.
…but learning has stagnated
For the nation’s 17-year-olds, there have been no gains in literacy since the National Assessment of Educational Progress began in 1971. Performance is somewhat better on math, but there has still been no progress since 1990. The long-term stagnation cannot be attributed to racial or ethnic differences in the U.S. population. Literacy scores for white students peaked in 1975; in math, scores peaked in the early 1990s.