The increasing price of college tuition is not really a surprise. It has been going up for years, and a major issue is the rate of the increase as well as the simultaneous economic decline that has been taking place. According to a recent study, the price of college has exploded by a 112% percent increase over four years.
The study, put out by the financial technology company Self, found that on average, college costs have risen $2,835 since 2015, increasing 112 percent more than the rate of inflation during the same period.
The analysis found that “university students are paying $29,133 on average across all states just to attend. This is an increase of $2,835 for every year of tuition above the prices student were paying in 2015.”
It also found that across all states, Montana had the sharpest increase in college costs, with the average cost going up 30 percent in the past four years. Alaska was close behind with a 28 percent increase, and Texas rounded out the top three with an average cost increase of 20 percent. (source)
I graduated college in 2007, and I have followed the tuition prices well before graduation through today of not my own alma mater, but also that of other major schools. I did this because I attended the school I did because of her reasonable prices and the ability to keep my debts low- after all, 2 + 2 is the same in the backwoods of Canada as it is at Oxford.
I came out of college in an extremely fortunate financial situation. I was certainly not rich- I was poor, but I can say that I did not have the debt issues that my fellow peers did and continue to have. In fact, I have yet to meet a Millennial (save for one person) who attended something outside of a community college that did not have serious levels of student loan debts to pay back.
What is most unfortunate is that these Millennials, while there is a level of responsibility they have, absolutely cannot be accused of being irresponsible with taking out such loans because most people around them, from parents to relatives, to school teachers and counselors, to friends and neighbors, to advertisements and random people, drilled into their heads that the way to be successful was to go to college, and that one should take out the necessary debt for a good school because they will be able to pay it back.
Can one blame Millennials for taking out large amounts of debt when almost everybody they knew and loved systematically told them “You need to do [this] or else you are a bad person and going to fail at life,” and then when they do [this] they are told that “You should not have done this, you are a failure and dumb, and now you need to clean up your own mess”?
This issue is of particular importance because as I graduated in 2007, I saw first hand the shock and effects that this had on those who graduated at the time I did. There is a reason that those who graduated from 2006- 2012 were considered to be a “lost generation” within the Millennials, and why among the older Millennials (this group) there is so much anger, because they were promised many things, they worked hard to get there, and when they go there all they received was a giant bill they cannot pay off for reasons beyond their control and then criticism from the very people who told them to do what they did.
The younger Millennials have followed in the same path largely. This is unfortunate, as this suggests that their parents truly did not pay attention to the student loan debts and economic issues taking place in society. The blame is less on the younger Millennials, but more on their families who in the years after the first major phase of the crash subsided, continued to think that life would function as it did in 2006 and before.
It is now coming to the end of 2019. The soon-to-be class of 2024 will be preparing to apply for college and start university in fall 2020. Yet in just four years, the average price of college per year has increase by 112%.
That means a relatively cheap (by American university standards) annual tuition cost of $10,000 USD is now $20,000 USD. When one adds in the price of room and board, the total cost reaches easily over $60,000 and $70,000.
Just as a fact, the “median” US worker wage in about $60,000. However, this is not a good measure, since it includes the whole nation and does not take into consideration the major discrepancies in income. The fact is that most people- about 50% -are earning less that $30,000 per year, even as families, and that less than 75% of people earn over $60,000 per year.
A college degree today is no longer a way to wealth. Due to the non-dischargeable nature of the loans, they are a vehicle for poverty and misery instead of success. Yet there are still many who are taking them.
Right now there are many issues, even with Millennials for over a decades struggling to pay their loans. However, the only mitigating factor they have had has been a “dead cat bounce” economy, where small pitiful gains, while not financially improving people’s personal circumstances, has been able to keep a total collapse followed by loan collections from returning. However, this can only exist as long as they economy is somewhat alive. In the event of another economic collapse, which is inevitable and will likely happen around 2023 based on our predictions, a lot of people are going to be forced into poverty, from the old Millennials to the young.
People talk about the “OK, Boomer” rage that is boiling right now, but this is just the start. One needs to wait and see what happens as the generations age and Millennials as well as Zoomers, unable to pay their loans for decades or even days, will likely rise up in anger about this, demanding action from the government as well as their parents.
Given how if 2020 is a Trump victory, not only will 2024 likely be a Democrat victory, but it would also be excellent putty in the hands of a socialist sculptor to call for forms of nationalization and socialism a-la the style used in the old world, that power would be given to the government for promises- most likely promises that one cannot deliver on -to pay off their horrendous debts.
But that would not solve anything, for as history from the 20th century has shown, it would only be the beginning of a very long and worse nightmare.