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Higher Education: an Investment or a Gamble?

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Submitted By untouchables93
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Higher Education: An Investment or a Gamble?
Higher education has been a staple in western civilization for those who wish to be part of the economically privileged. Social perception has modified the previous thought into believing that to enter the “middle class” that a person must have a college degree, more specifically a bachelor’s degree. Every year the amount of Americans attending higher education rises, yet the United States now has the highest college dropout rate in the world with only 56% of college students completing their bachelor’s degree within a six year timeframe (Pathways to Prosperity, 10-11). Each year the odds that an individual choosing to attend a four-year university will dig their own financial grave by not graduating increases due to the continuing steep rise in tuition. The long term effects of this will create an ever widening gap in our economic classes causing a continual imbalance of higher percentages of persons in the lower economic class and a lower percentage in America’s middle class.
Several factors attribute to why this shift is continuing to increase speed with increased tuition costs at the epicenter. In 1980 the average cost for tuition, room, and board for a four year institution adjusted for 2010 inflation was $8756 (nces.ed.gov). This cost has risen almost 250% in constant dollars to $21,093 while the average middle class household income has only risen 11% when adjusted for 2011 inflation ($55,873 in 1980 to $62,434 in 2011) (census.gov). With tuition rates rising at double the inflation rate on average this instigates a worse economic situation for those who do not graduate or are unable to find suitable paying jobs even with their degrees leaving these individuals further into debt with less disposable income (finaid.org).
With tuition rates rising higher than the rate of inflation, extra funds are required...

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