20 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by yogurtinifairfax
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Speak Out: Is College Worth the High Cost?

Student loan debt in the U.S. has topped $1 trillion. Is college worth it?

Speak Out: Is College Worth the High Cost?

Whether public or private, four-year or community, college costs continue to rise. Tuition has risen at twice the rate of inflation, even doubling over the last 10 years, according to a report on CBS Sunday morning.

The two most expensive schools in the country, Sarah Lawrence College and The George Washington University, will top $60,000 and $55,000 a year respectively for 2012-13.

The average debt at graduation in 2011 was $27,200, according to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of finaid.org. He said adding parent loans to the equation raised that to $34,400. Student loan debt in the United States has topped $1 trillion, according to CBS Sunday Morning.

Interest rates on student loans are set to double in July, which will only exacerbate the problem. President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney agree Congress should extend the lower 3.4 percent rate for federally subsidized Stafford loans. They disagree on how to pay for it. Romney wants the money to come from the President's health care program. The President wants the money to come from closing the tax loopholes for oil and gas companies.

"Even with adjusted, or lowered, expectations, millions of millennial college graduates find their only opportunities are for positions where $10 an hour is aiming high, benefits are non-existent, and a paid vacation is a laughable concept," reported Larissa Faw in her Forbes article "College Degree = $10-Hour Job."

"College graduates and advanced-degree holders, once they are unemployed, are as vulnerable as high school dropouts to long-term joblessness," reported the Huffington Post in a review of a Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative study.

Unemployment for new graduates is around 8.9 percent; the rate for workers with only a high school diploma is nearly three times as high, at 22.9 percent, according to a report published this year by Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce, highlighted in a New York Times article.

With the high costs, large debt and poor job prospects, the question begs: Is college still worth it?

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