Higher education costs have been increasing at a rapid pace, faster than inflation for the economy as a whole, for the past fifty years. It started in the 1960’s when the federal government passed the Higher Education Act to increase the amount of people able to afford and attend college. Regardless of the Unites States Government efforts to increase the affordability of college, federal aid programs have not risen to expectations due to the ever-increasing college prices. To lower the price of college, the government needs to cut back on student financial spending to go only to the lowest income families and create tax incentives for families to start saving up on their own.
A college education has become the expectation for most youth in the United States. Children need a college education to succeed in the global economy. Unfortunately for the majority of Americans the price of an education has become the equivalent to a small house. The steep tuition of a college education has made it an intimidating financial hurdle for middle class families. In 1986-1987 school year the average tuition at a private university was $20,566 (adjusted to 2011 dollars) while in 2011 the average cost was $28,500 for an increase of 38.6%. Similarly in public universities there has been an increase in tuition: in the 1986-1987 school year the average tuition at a public university was $8,454 (adjusted to 2011 dollars) while in 2011 the average cost was actually $20,770 for an increase of 145.7%. Most families who are able to save for college try to do so, therefore their children are not left with large amounts of debt due to loans. Nevertheless, families are only able to save on average around $10,000, which is not enough to pay for a full education.
Traditionally, the federal government had not played a large role in helping citizens’ pay for higher education; aid usually came from private institutions. After World War II the government made education an important priority in the United States. On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944; also know as the GI Bill of Rights. The bill provided a free college education to returning soldiers from the war (Keesee)
The government began playing a larger role in student financial aid in the 1960’s. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created a federal work-study program, which gave federal funds to universities so they could provide disadvantaged undergraduates with part time jobs which would allow the students to earn money and help compensate off education costs, but still receive an education. The Higher Education Act (HEA), which was enacted in 1965, created the foundation for contemporary day federal aid programs. Title IV is the section of the Act that created grants to students who attend an institution of higher learning. (Higher Education Act.)
The government’s role continued to expand in the 1970’s and 1980’s. There was legislation that...