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Why Does College Cost So Much?$
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Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744503

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744503.001.0001

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A Few Final Observations

A Few Final Observations

(p.252) 16 A Few Final Observations
Why Does College Cost So Much?

Robert B. Archibald

David H. Feldman

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops two themes that follow from our aerial view of higher education. First, we need to ratchet down the rhetoric that dominates current discussion of higher education. Phrases such as “college cost crisis” or “affordability crisis” are not warranted. The higher education industry faces a set of important problems, but the inflammatory rhetoric is based on a misdiagnosis of the causes of rising college cost. Second, we should focus on what can be fixed. Students at the bottom of the income distribution do find college increasingly less affordable. The problem is caused by higher college costs and stagnating incomes. We need to address this problem by making financial aid easier for students to access. In the long run, this will deal with both difficulties. Increasing access will increase educational attainment, and increasing educational attainment will reverse the process responsible for stagnating incomes.

Keywords:   college costs, crisis, educational attainment, financial aid, income distribution, inflammatory rhetoric

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