In-state tuition at public colleges shot up 8.3 percent this year to an average of $8,244, according to an analysis by the College Board. Tuition at private four-year colleges jumped a more modest 4.5 percent, to an average of $28,500.
Meanwhile, President Obama announced a plan Wednesday to allow borrowers who have loans from different government programs to consolidate them at a lower interest rate. Obama also said he will speed up the implementation of a new law that reduces the maximum share of income borrowers pay each year to 10 percent. After borrowers spend 20 years paying that amount, they can have the remaining balance on their loans forgiven.
College tuition costs have nearly tripled since 1980, accounting for inflation, even as median wages have remained stagnant over the same period. For the first time, Americans now owe more in college debt than in credit card debt. (But unlike credit card debt, student loans can't be discharged in bankruptcy.) As Kevin Carey points out in the New Republic, easing the burden of student loans does nothing to curb those rising costs.
Even though students are taking on more and more debt, college graduates face a much better labor market on average than people who stop their education after high school.
The unemployment rate for high school grads under the age of 24 has been hovering around 20 percent for the past three years. For young college graduates, unemployment is only at 8.5 percent. And for college graduates over 25, the unemployment rate is only 4.2 percent.
Other popular Yahoo! News stories: