Why paying your way through college is a thing of the past.
As the presidential debates kick off, everyone is talking about the big issues leading up to the 2020 election. The largest economic issue is one that is becoming impossible to ignore - the student loan debt crisis. The newest study by Textbookrush.com has provided further proof that for most students, coming out of school debt free is a thing of the past. Forty years ago, a student attending college could pay for their tuition and housing by simply working a part time job, something that is impossible to accomplish today.
The number of hours required to work in order to cover education costs has skyrocketed due to the rising costs of education and the decline of wages compared to inflation. Over the past forty years, the cost of tuition and housing has increased over 250% while the cost of textbooks rose over 1000%. In this time, the value of the minimum wage has declined fairly steadily since its peak in 1968 and possibly even more unsettling - the federal minimum wage has not changed in over ten years. The following illustrates how many hours a student would need to work at minimum wage to pay for their education.
Number one on the list of hardest states to pay your way through college is Pennsylvania at 119.6 hours, which leaves a meager 48.4 hours to attend classes, study, and sleep. This does not even take into account the rising number of non-traditional students who also have a family to raise and other life responsibilities to devote time to. Even at the bottom of the list, students in Washington state would have to work more than a full-time job (52.45 hours) to cover education costs. Find out where your state ranks on the list.
While the lifetime earning value of a college degree still outweighs the cost, 44 million Americans are struggling to pay over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt that will continue to affect institutional success, and the economy, for a very long time. Students are putting more thought than ever before into choosing a school that understands the value of their money and offers technology and conveniences that will create a greater quality of financial investment.
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