Cost of Not Going to College May Outpace Tuition Rates

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Keeping pace with the rapidly rising monetary cost of college tuition is the increasing quality of life cost fixed on not going to college. A report by Pew, “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College,” surveyed adults across the country and found that not only is the importance of a college degree still central, but it is a key factor for a Millennial’s quality of life.

The findings are important given that the Department of Education reports that the overall cost of college (tuition, room, board, etc.) rose at public schools by 42 percent, and by 31 percent at private schools between the 2000/2001 and 2010/2011 school years.

Just as in previous generations, young adults with a college degree are earning more, are more likely to be employed, less likely to live in poverty, and are generally more satisfied with their jobs. For purposes of the report, Pew defines the millennial as being born after 1980. Members of Generation X were born between 1965 and 1980, anyone born from 1946 to 1964 is a Baby Boomer, and the Silents are those with birth dates from 1928 to 1945.

The key differences between now and then is that the gap between the two education segments is growing. One example is annual income and poverty levels. Measured in 2012 dollars, the median income of a college educated Millennial was $45,500 in 2013, $17,500 higher than a high school educated peer’s $28,000. Between Generation Xers, the gap was $15,780, and late Baby Boomers saw a $14,245 differential in income. When only a high school education had been obtained for a young adult in 2013, 22 percent reported living in poverty. Fifteen percent of Generation X’s high school educated faced the same situation in 1995, and 12 percent of late Baby Boomers lived in poverty in 1986.

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