The numbers confirm what most middle class families already know — college is becoming so expensive, it’s starting to hold them back.
The crux of the problem: Tuition and fees at public universities, according to the College Board, have surged almost 130% over the last 20 years — while middle class incomes have stagnated.
And for better or for worse, a college education is becoming more and more a stepping stone to the middle class in this country. As we’ve moved the factories and other lower skill middle class jobs out of the country, there is a greater and greater premium on post high school education. If we’re no longer going to have a manufacturing economy, the least we can do is to prepare the next generation for the economy we will have.
Of course, there’s so much more to an education than just job training. Hopefully, people come out of college more well rounded and better thinkers, the kind of people we need around the state. Maybe some will create the next industry, maybe someone will find a passion they never had before but maybe some will just be better able to help their kids with homework or become smarter, more well rounded, more engaged citizens. The state shouldn’t short change itself of that, either.