Thinking Outside the College Box
Written By: Gary Jason | Posted: Monday, December 17th, 2012
from American Thinker
A number of recent articles explore the growing trend among college-age people to question whether college is worth the costs -- both the direct costs in terms of tuition and opportunity costs in terms of lost time. In other words, many more college-eligible people are now thinking outside the college box.
Three factors are impelling this widespread re-examination of the necessity of college.
First, the soaring cost of college tuition and the debt it is causing are becoming widely known. For example, the NY Times has prominently reported that average student loan debt rose 5% from 2010 to 2011, now averaging $26,500. Some two thirds of those receiving a bachelor's degree had student loan debt. Student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion; $117 billion in such debt was added last year alone.
Second, it is also coming to the public's attention that the average earnings for bachelor's-degree workers are dropping rapidly in absolute terms, and dropping in value compared to the cost of tuition at an even faster clip. Just since 2000, tuition rates have risen nearly linearly by 72.0% (i.e., an average 5.6% annual growth rate). But during the same period, the average earnings for baccalaureate grads dropped 14.7% (or an average drop of 1.6% yearly). No doubt this is a major reason why the delinquency rate for student loans now exceeds that for mortgage loans, credit card loans, and indeed all other forms of consumer loans.