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Rising cost of a college education (read more) May 2016 eNL

Rising Cost of a College Education

A Post-Secondary Degree Out of Reach for Many

The Tennessean reports (Tennesse Board of Regents eyes low tuition hikes) that the Tennessee Higher Education Commission recently asked the state's public colleges to keep tuition increases between zero and 3 percent for the 2016-17 school year. While this represents the lowest increase in many years, according to Trends in Higher Education, tuition has more than doubled in the past decade while the Hope Scholarship, introduced in 2004, has basically remained unchanged, covering less each year. 

CNBC reports that there are many reasons tuition continues to rise, but the bottom line is that students and their families bear the burden for most of the increases. Roughly $100 billion in student loans are issued annually and total student loan debt in the U.S. has surpassed $1.2 trillion. The Institute for College Access and Success reports that 60% of 2014 graduates in Tennessee had an average of $25,510 in student loan debt. College tuition increases continue to outpace the consumer price index, and a college education has become less of a reality for more American families each year.

Students can offset high costs by aggressively seeking third-party scholarships, grants, part-time jobs, and work study. Tennessee Promise offers a great opportunity for 2 years of college for free. Dual enrollment courses in high school are fast becoming an effective way to secure college credit at a relatively low cost. But we must do more. We  must continue to push lawmakers to introduce effective policy to reduce costs and university leaders must re-double their efforts to reduce costs and pass the savings on to students. It's time to see tuition decreases.

From the May 2016 Scarlett Family Foundation newsletter

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