Putting Education Reform To The Test

Conversation About The Cost Of College Starts In Florida

Graduation day at Northwest Florida State College.

sean.flynn / Flickr

Graduation day at Northwest Florida State College.

NPR has started a series of conversations about paying for the rising cost of college.

For their first interview, NPR spoke with David Sherker, a student at Coral Reef High School in Miami, and his family. President Barack Obama recently spoke at the school to encourage students to apply for federal financial aid and prod Congress to approve $100 million in ideas to make college more affordable.

The rising cost of college is frightening. From the story:

The College Board says the average at public four-year colleges and universities increased by 27 percent beyond the rate of inflation over the five years from the 2008-09 academic year to 2013-14. After adjusting for inflation, the cost of tuition more than tripled between 1973 and 2013.

That reality has been forcing more and more students to take on staggering debts. Among all students who graduated from four-year colleges in 2012, seven in 10 left with debt.

And that debt load is heavy — an average of , according to the Institute for College Access and Success. Just 20 years ago, fewer than half of college students graduated with debt, and the amount was less than $10,000 on average.

But as we and others have noted: Not going to college will cost you. The earnings gap between those with a bachelor’s degree and those without is at a 50-year high.

Listen to the interview below:



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