The fifth-century B.C. Greek philosopher Heraclitus used to exclaim everything changes, nothing stands still. Well, colleges are in flux, too. Here are the 17 biggest differences between college today and college just 10 years ago:
1. Booming enrollments. It’s estimated that in 1999, 15 million students were enrolled in American colleges and universities. Today, the number is 19 million. And college enrollment looks to be growing-as far out as the eye can see-at a rate of 4 percent or so a year. Some unpleasant byproducts: humongous class sizes at many schools, interminable wait lists for popular or required classes, and more teaching by adjuncts and graduate students.
2. Skyrocketing tuition. According to the College Board, tuition for the academic year just past was approximately 6 percent higher, at both public and private universities, than it was the year before. And indeed, the rate of increase was approximately 6 percent a year for the decade before that. The inflation rate, on the other hand, ran about 3 percent per year for that same 10-year period. Public outcry has caused many universities to put a hold on tuition hikes for the time being. But when the economy strengthens a little bit… .
3. Increased government support. To some degree, the pain of out-of-control tuition increases has been lessened by a slew of recently introduced tax advantages, including the Hope credit, the lifetime learning credit, the student loan interest deduction, and the tuition and fees deduction. Very good information about all of these (including family-income caps and other requirements) is available at Sallie Mae’s Web page. Read more…
Publish date: May 18, 2009