August 19, 2015
College affordability will be a defining middle class issue in the 2016 presidential election and beyond. Presidential candidates will therefore need answers on an issue central to economic opportunity and advancement in 21st-century America.
1. Don’t too many people go to college already?
Recall that, in the last primary season, Republican runner-up Rick Santorum called President Obama a snob for suggesting that Americans should aim for at least one year of post-secondary education and training. This is an old conservative line: too many people are getting bachelor’s degrees in useless disciplines when they should be getting a job or learning a trade.
These arguments have gained momentum as tuition has skyrocketed and as recent college graduates have struggled to find good-paying jobs after graduation. Inflation-adjusted college tuition has nearly quadrupled at public four-year colleges since the early 1980s, while underemployment is up among recent college grads, and earnings are stagnant. The 45% of college students who drop out before they finish a degree now do no better than high school graduates. Conservative critics are right: college has become an increasingly expensive and risky investment for too many students.
Read the full article at the American Enterprise Institute: 5 questions that every presidential candidate should answer on higher education