"I graduated from UK in 1974. Sure would be nice to hear someone at UK explain why I could self-finance my entire education via summer jobs and part-time work back then. Graduated with zero debt. That's not even a remotely realistic possibility today."Then Solarity went off the rails a bit, laying it all on administrative bloat - a contributing factor for sure, (caused by increased accountability, just as happened in the P-12 world), but hardly the primary reason for the problem.
When I entered the university as a freshman in 1969, (graduating from UK a year before Solarity) my middle-class parents were able to afford my room, and board. I worked full-time every summer, and part-time during the school year, to cover my tuition and additional expenses. I couldn’t afford a car, but I had a bus ticket home, and everything I really needed to get started in my chosen profession of teaching. I graduated in four years, without any debt…and have contributed to the state economy for four decades now.
In those days America was focused on increasing the percentage of baby-boomers who were college educated. Higher education was seen as having a direct correlation to economic prosperity, and Kentucky contributed as much as two-thirds of the cost of a college education in the belief that the state would realize a return in a more productive citizenry – and our GDP soared.
And it is not only more difficult to pay for college these days but coming out of the Great Recession the availability of jobs has been limited in many fields.
A bachelor’s degree is no longer a guarantee of lifetime employment. Meanwhile, the American middle class has been separating itself into two opposing streams of upwardly mobile college-haves and downwardly mobile college-have-nots.
Here's some more recent, and more forward-looking data that underscores the importance of a highly skilled workforce for our future economy.
And Governor Bevin's proposed budget will make this data even worse...
But here is the answer to Solarity's question.
The cost of higher education in Kentucky has been relatively stable over the past decade and a half - moving from $14,915 in 2000-01, up only $808 by 2013-14. It is the price to students that has almost doubled over the same time period - and it has risen in inverse proportion to the state's withdrawal of support.
In the meantime, Kentucky colleges have more than doubled the number of degrees granted.