03/18/2014 11:03 pm ET Updated Mar 19, 2014

How The Cost Of College Went From Affordable To Sky-High

It was a different story 70 years ago, when most Americans thought college was only for the wealthy elite. That changed after World War II with the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill of Rights.
The GI Bill was an unexpected success, Thelin says, enrolling just under 8 million veterans — 10 times the number the authors of the bill had predicted. This sudden, enormous demand, Thelin adds, could have pushed college costs higher — but didn't, because states embraced the idea. The booming postwar economy allowed them to spend unprecedented sums of money to expand higher education.

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