In 1959, yearly tuition at Eastern Washington University was $135. At the time, it was considered the “poor man’s college.” I know, because back then I was one of those lower-income students.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $135 would now be $1,048 in 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars. Yet, beginning this fall, EWU’s yearly tuition will be $7,330; almost a 600 percent increase over the inflation rate for that time period!
Today a student of modest means either has to forgo a college education or he must take out college loans which will saddle him with enormous debt at the beginning of his career. At a time in our history when we need more college graduates, we’re making it harder than ever for many to achieve the American dream. What has gone wrong and how do we fix it?