Why would low-income students pay four or five times more for an education they could receive around the corner at their local community college? And why would they accumulate large amounts of debt to do it, foregoing the ability to later transfer their credits?
I fully expect the educational results for the 2008 cohorts to be a mirror of the financial trauma they and our nation experienced and that many of our most vulnerable citizens still know all too well today.
Congress brought out their knives and spears this year to fight over the interest rates you have to pay on your college loans. Those in favor of lower rates said they were coming to your rescue. Forget it. You are still sinking. "It's the principal, stupid!"
As we gaze into the future, the direction of higher education is likely to be more about the whole produced by the sum of its parts. No one type of learning will predominate. It is likely, however, that higher education will move toward a blended platform.
When choosing a college, remember that tuition cost shouldn't be the only way to calculate the value of your degree -- investing in schools with better internships, contacts or special programs can help you continue to build wealth years after you graduate.
If you take a peek inside a college students' backpack, in many cases you will find that smartphones, tablets, portable computers and e-readers have long since replaced more traditional essentials such as notebooks, pencils and textbooks.
Because the question of cost as it relates to each family's situation can be different in each individual case, families can start planning as early as the student's junior year of high school, but at the latest by the summer before the senior year.
President Obama just did American students, educators, and businesses a favor. He made access to an affordable college education a national priority, and for that historic focus he deserves great credit.
President Obama's populist rhetoric bashing colleges on cost and accountability was surely a crowd-pleaser; and there's just enough truth in his criticism to make his plan seem, at the very least, important if not brilliant. But the plan masks a big lie. Actually, several big lies.
Going off to college is one of the rites of adulthood. The cost of higher education is monumental, but worth it. I always teach that the world around us is a classroom. Your kids will be getting their formal education, but they will also be learning real-life lessons that will last a lifetime.
Some children dream about the school they want to attend or the career they want to pursue for years. Most parents don't want to introduce the harsh reality of money into dreams like that. It's not easy, but it's better to sit down now and face facts.