Recently, the federal reserve released a report of how skyrocketing student loan debt has put home ownership out of reach for some 400,000 Americans in their 20s and 30s from 2005-14.
In a separate report the American Enterprise Institute notes the cost of higher education has risen much farther than the cost of most everything else. Also, the report cites college tuition has risen by 183 percent since 1998, more than three times faster than overall inflation since then.
I always take note when it comes to student loan debt issues, as I and my colleagues, friends and family have student loan debt. Today’s employment reality typically includes many employees only being offered part-time hours with little to no benefits.
People are struggling to find employment to meet their basic needs, let alone to achieve the “American Dream” of buying a home.
Another recently released report from the Social Security Department notes the return on investing in higher education remains quite good. A person with a bachelors degree can expect to earn about half a million dollars more over their lifetime, than that of an individual with only a high-school diploma.
However, many are like me and are not employed in a high earning position or job industry. Yes, one could argue that one should pursue an education within a higher earning industry, but that thought simply doesn't apply to everyone.
Like many facets of our society the cost of college education is dictated by policymakers at the state and federal level who have slashed funding for higher education in recent decades.
In 18 states, taxpayers spend more on jails and prisons than they do on colleges and universities according to a 2016 report from the department of education.
I’m unsure if Minnesota is one of those 18 states, but even so, no state should be spending more money on prisons than education in my opinion. These rising college education costs are eating away at one’s purchasing power, which all of the above reports illustrate.
The downstream effects of college costs is a rising debt load that’s making it harder for Americans to do things such as buying a home previous generations took for granted.
What’s the solution?
That’s the million dollar question here.
With issues such as student loan debt, costs of higher education and many other issues it’s time for policymakers and the public to focus and create effective solutions.
It’s my hope that those reading this column take away that the idea of simply pursuing a higher earning job is not the solution. We all need to be aware of the challenges and the struggles others face in our world that keep eroding away at the American Dream we were all lead to believe exists.