I know — it’s not Plamegate.  No indictments, no intrigue.  Just a basic threat to our national existence.  

Those from families with the highest income and education levels finished college at more than double the rate of high-scoring students from the lowest socioeconomic grouping.

Sandy Baum, a College Board analyst, said the data showed that college completion increasingly was “not about academic preparation; it’s about money.”

Let’s stop and think about the above paragraphs.  Family income – not academic potential – is just as important in completing college.  For a middle class family that wants to better the lives of their children, this is simply wrong.  It’s not about the time you study, the sacrifices you make to intellectually prepare yourself for a better life.  It’s about whether your parents can afford the cost.

Not including room, board and books, the tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose this year by a national average of about 7%, to $5,491.

Private four-year schools raised their tuition by an average of about 6%, to $21,235, the group reported.

Financial aid did not keep pace with tuition increases this year, continuing a trend, the reports said. The average net tuition and fees — the price paid after financial aid is awarded — was $11,600 for private college students, up from an inflation-adjusted $9,500 a decade ago. Public college net tuition and fees averaged $2,200, increasing from a real price of $1,900 a decade ago.

Here’s the short version of what has happened in the last few decades.  States have continually decreased their funding for their own universities.  Instead, they have passed the increase onto students who have to take out larger loans to pay for education.  The result is more graduates are now leaving college either before graduation before they graduate because of the financial burden, or more people are graduating with a larger debt load, thus preventing them from moving up the socio-economic scale.  Here’s the result of this policy:

Within the lowest socioeconomic sample, 75% of the high-scoring eighth-graders eventually enrolled in college, but 29% had earned college degrees eight years after high school graduation. Ninety-nine percent of high-scoring eighth-graders within the highest socioeconomic sample attended college, with 74% earning degrees. High scorers in the middle two socioeconomic groups entered college at a 91% rate, with 47% earning degrees.

If you’re rich, you have a better chance of graduating.  The land of opportunity in action.  


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