Reining in College Costs

Even before the current economic downturn, the issue of cost had become the dominant public concern about American higher education. Over the past several decades, tuition has increased at a faster rate than inflation and faster than the growth in family incomes. Too many students graduate with staggering debt, leading many to avoid critical but low-income careers. The cost of attendance has discouraged many students from groups typically underrepresented in higher education from even thinking about going to college. In a global economy that is increasingly knowledge-based, reduced access to higher education is a problem because of its potential impact on economic growth and on the social and cultural well-being of this country.

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