Higher Education's Bubble May Be About To Burst

Ann McClure's picture

For years young people have been told that a college education is the best investment they can make in their future. Armed with statistics that show college graduates make more money than those with only a high school diploma, college officials have seen a steady increase in enrollment.

But that trend may soon peak. Between rising tuition, mounting debt and declining job prospects after graduation — if they make it that far — many young people are not only turning to ways of saving money but even avoiding college altogether. Just how bad is it?

According to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), the most expensive private colleges are charging $58,379 per year or $234,946 for a four-year degree. While public colleges charge less, tuition rates of $5000 for each term are common. The vast majority of students cannot afford college without going deeply into debt.

According to the NAS, the average debt for recent graduates is $26,000. That represents a wide range from a few thousand for community college students to tens of thousands for those at elite schools. Unlike other debts, these cannot be mitigated or escaped through bankruptcy. Students’ poor or diminished job prospects make their situation worse.

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