Six-Figure College Tuition? It Might Not Be Far Away

college tuition costs

You hear it all the time—college tuition rates are on the rise. Still, news that several universities have increased their tuition rates to $90,000+ per year is raising eyebrows. This includes four universities in New England: Tufts University, Yale University, Wellesley College, and Boston University.

While these exorbitant fees make for an alarming headline, it may be wise to keep in mind that the schools mentioned have always been some of the most expensive private schools in the nation. Public schools, state universities, and community colleges charge much less. The question becomes—Will inflation affect the cost of postsecondary education for the average student?

Unfortunately, the answer appears to be “yes”. Various sources, including Forbes and USA Today put the cost of a college degree today at up to 200% more than the same degree in 1980. Of course, this uptick only serves to fuel the near-constant question: Is a college degree really worth the investment?

It’s a complicated calculation that involves some future forecasting, but it may be necessary to avoid carrying the heavy weight of student debt years after graduation. The Federal Reserve reports that student loan debt in the United States has risen to more than $1.77 trillion—up 66% since 2014.

Meanwhile, salaries for entry-level workers are increasing at a much slower rate. These trends combined have led some to wonder whether a four-year degree is worth anything more than mere bragging rights. It’s also led many would-be college freshmen to consider free or cheap non-degree courses that lead to professional certifications instead.

Higher ed experts advise prospective students to analyze their individual circumstances before making a decision. Ultimately, your return on investment will depend on several different factors, including your financial aid eligibility and job prospects after graduation.