The Cost of College and the Sagging Economy

Three-quarters of the jobs of the future will require some post-secondary education, but less than half of today’s workforce has the skills and education to fill the jobs. While post-secondary education is a goal for many students,
college is becoming financially out of reach for many families. With increase layoffs, high unemployment, and the increased costs of college (which have grown faster than inflation), higher education needs to review their priorities.

In Pennsylvania about 265,000 people of college age – 18 to 21 – live in families with annual income less than $41,000 for a family of four. Lower income families must dedicate a higher percentage of their annual income to pay for
school than moderate and higher income families.

Loans are a necessity for many college students to attend college, but they can be a financial burden. In 2007, 71 percent of college students in Pennsylvania graduated with an average loan debt of nearly $24,000.

With the increased demands for better and higher trained people entering the workforce, the Obama Administration and the business community need to come up with some answers as well.