Wages Versus College Tuitions

For a while now, I’ve been arguing that college tuitions have risen relative to wages to the point where students can’t possibly work their way through school. But The Journal Sentinel has a figure that pretty much sums it up:


Things have become worse:

In 1981, the average unmet need before loans for a Wisconsin undergrad who applied for need-based aid was $1,600 to $1,700. In 2010-’11, it was $9,191…

Average loan debt at graduation from four-year UW campuses is more than five times what it was 30 years ago, rising from just under $5,000 in 1982 to $27,000 in 2011.

And due to cutbacks, we’re essentially ‘deuniversalizing’ higher education (boldface mine):

It’s an elaborate dance of state legislatures cutting aid to public universities, while telling universities to raise tuition — but not too much — and expecting them to reduce time to degree while increasing graduation rates, Carnevale said.

“The bottom line is higher-education leaders shouldn’t play poker with politicians because they always lose.”

The only way out of the box, Carnevale said, is to admit better students who have more money.

But don’t worry–there are other options for some of the less well-heeled:

SeekingArrangements matches so-called Sugar Daddies with Sugar Babies seeking “Mutually Beneficial Relationships & Mutually Beneficial Arrangements.” The website claims at least 48 young women from UW-Madison and 55 from UW-Milwaukee signed up last year, using their university email addresses. It’s unclear how many actually followed through.

Because freedom isn’t free.

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4 Responses to Wages Versus College Tuitions

  1. If only the students had the foresight to be born to richer parents.

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  3. Jose Noway says:

    This is what happens when schools are told to act like businesses. If a degree confers additional earning power, it is rational for the school to try to capture as much of that increase as possible.

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