Real wages haven’t increased, at the same time as pension values are decreasing, state budgets uncertainties are reducing funding for public universities and children are maturing into college age. What a perfect confluence for many middle class families and contributing to nervousness that the lifelong dream of a college degree–demonstrated through multiple honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes each high school year, extra-curricular activities several evenings a week and weekends throughout the year, plus summer activities and homework, not to mention hours of childhood activities and scheduled play dates, all to prepare for college. Families are not just asking Creative Marbles about their child’s chances for admissions; increasingly, they’re wondering if they can afford the college degree.
The more information a family gathers about colleges, the greater their confidence in being able to afford the most valuable education for their individual student. The New York Times compiled a map showing the average debt of graduates and changes to tuition since 2004, by college. Knowing the average debt of graduates gives families information about the college’s financial aid policy and can begin a conversation about how to fund college expenses, as a family.