College Education Costs Increasing; Family Income Remains Steady or Falls, Recent Study Says

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Most colleges around the country have seen students return to campus for the fall semester in the past several weeks. According to a recent study, many of those students or their families who support them financially are in a financial crunch. According to a study released recently by the Campaign for America’s Future, the average tuition cost is rising across the country. At the same time the average American family’s income is either remaining steady, or dropping. This is resulting in some serious financial implications for college students, including leaving college under significant debt according to the press release from the Campaign for America’s Future.

The report studied the cost of college tuition along with the median American Household income levels starting in 2000 and ending in 2006. The report found that the average undergraduate tuition and other expenses for four year colleges increased $1,431 in the six year period. For private colleges that increase is higher with it being $1,670. The percentage increase is much more significant for public colleges though according to the press release with it being 37% in that six year period compared with 6% for private college tuition.

Meanwhile, the study results are reported in the press release indicating that the median household income during that six year span has decreased $957, which is a 2 percent decrease. It is higher for African American families with a decrease of 8% in median household income, and Asian American families who saw a three percent decrease. Median household income for men has dropped three percent from 2000 to 2006 for males, and increased one percent for females.

Unfortunately for college students, financial aid is not making up for these differences either, according to the press release. Comparing the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years, the press release notes that Pell Grant expenditures dropped from $13.6 billion to $12.7 billion. Pell Grants today according to the study are $294 lower than their peak amount in 2002-2003.

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which will provide assistance to college students would take effect on October 1st, if it is passed by both houses of Congress and the President signs the bill, according to the press release.

“This is a first step. Students and their families are scrambling to pay for college. Many families have no choice but to borrow heavily to meet the costs,” said Robert Borosage, who is the Campaign For America’s Future’s Director.

SOURCES: “New Government Data Shows College Costs Are Soaring Further Out Of Reach”.