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The Middle Class Squeeze

Submitted by Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy on May 25th, 2016

In the last several years, our middle class clients are being confronted by flattening incomes and  college costs that have risen over 1000%.  More and more families are finding themselves not only planning to pay for college when their children are quite young, but asking for more financial assistance when their children are ready to enroll in college.

FRED(sm).CMC2016

With families earning less, but the costs of college skyrocketing, families may be spending a greater portion of their total budget to pay for college.

Prices of educational books and supplies have increased 141 percent, and college tuition and fees have increased 146 percent since January 2000.

Average American’s Cost of Living Falls, February 1, 2016, American Institute of Economic Research

Even if parents of today’s incoming college Class of 2020 began saving when they were young, at the average savings account interest rate of 3% (FDIC, 2016), (and of course, depending on the amount saved annually), the nest egg may not be enough to compensate for the 146% rise in college tuition over the same time period.

Millennial youth have achieved academically, dutifully served their communities, run thousands of miles in year-round sports leagues and led many sundry student organizations—both to develop character and compete for college admissions. Yet, parents who face the chasm separating their income and savings from rising college tuition, may be forced to choose between:  lowering their standard of living, limiting younger children’s educational opportunities to the benefit of older child(ren), seeking greater financial aid and even curtailing their children’s college prospects.  Not Enviable.

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