Is College Only For Rich Kids?

Those bootstraps are getting farther and farther away. According to The Wall Street Journal, fewer low- and moderate-income high school graduates are attending college in America, and fewer are graduating. In 2004, enrollment in four-year colleges was 40% for low-income students, down from 54% in 1992. For moderate-income students, 53% were enrolled in 2004, down from 59% over the same period. The findings were submitted to Congress by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.

It’s a dangerous trend, considering that teens and people without college degrees are having a tougher time than ever getting jobs.  The unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year olds averaged 17% in 2004, the jobless rate for people over age 25 with just a high school diploma averaged 5% the same year. So far this year, those figures have jumped to 25.8% and 10.6%, respectively.

Why is this happening? Money. The net price for attending a four-year public college in 2007 for a low-income student was $10,620 — 48% of family income — up from $7,570 — 48% of family income — in 1992. The cost for a moderate-income student increased over the same period to $14,650 — 26% of family income — from $8,790 — 22% of family income. College in this country is just not affordable, and drowning in student loan debt is a bad option for anybody.

One creative way to raise money for college is through sites like sponsormydegree.com – but something tells me you can’t convince strangers to pay your whole way.