Rising tuition costs are putting college out of reach for most Americans, a new report shows. Since 1982, college costs have gone up 439%, but median family income only 147%. That has forced the middle class to increasingly fund higher education through loans. For lower-income families—for whom public universities cost about 55% of their annual income—it may already be unaffordable, reports the New York Times.
Recession dampers the troubling news further, since states will likely increase tuition to balance strained budgets. Florida and Washington have announced 15% and 20% hikes, respectively. If incomes remain stagnant, "we're really going to be in jeopardy. The educational gap between our workforce and the rest of the world will make it very hard to be competitive," the research center's president says.