No one disputes that a college degree is now the “new high school” necessary to succeed in today’s economy, or that an educated society is crucial to our country’s ability to compete in today’s diversified global economy.
Yet Virginia public four-year colleges and universities are now the seventh most expensive in the country. And in 2015, Virginia had zero—that’s right, zero—economic growth.
At $1.3 trillion and counting, higher education debt now exceeds credit card debt in our country, enslaving young and old alike. It does this by foreclosing certain career choices, the American dream of homeownership and, perhaps worst of all, making it difficult for graduates to risk starting small businesses that are the lifeblood of our nation’s economy.
Meanwhile, many universities are amassing huge endowments and increasing tuition at four to five times the rate of inflation. At the University of Virginia, for example, administrators have accumulated a $2.3 billion “Strategic Investment Fund” — a slush fund would be a more appropriate description — that could pay the four-year tuition bills for 44,000 Virginia students. That’s more than a decade’s worth of UVA undergraduate students who could have their tuition bills paid, potentially assuring the dream of leaving college debt-free.
Current policies have failed to stem this tide of rising tuition rates at Virginia’s four-year public colleges and universities. Over the past decade, the tuition rates at Virginia’s 15 public colleges and universities have soared an average of 88 percent and there is no indication those increases will slow.
Something has to change. And you can help.
Start by taking our survey to help us understand public sentiment about this issue.
Share what you know. Tell us your thoughts on soaring college tuition costs and crippling student debt and share your personal stories with us.
Give us your ideas on solutions to this pressing problem and let us know how you’d like to “ACT Now.”
We will compile an analysis of the survey results with actionable responses that we will share publicly.
This survey is presented as a special project from Partners for Affordable Excellence @EDU.