ERIC Number: ED167005
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Is There or Isn't There a Middle Income Crunch?
Van Alstyne, Carol
An analysis is made of the way data were treated in several studies which concluded that family incomes have increased as fast as college costs and that there is no special difficulty in paying for higher education for middle income families. Trends in tuition costs are confounded by presenting average tuition data aggregated for all types of institutions. A second consideration is that the "cost of college" shown in the studies is tuition plus room and board. Conclusions about relative rates of cost increase differ substantially depending on whether tuition or tuition plus room and board are considered. Selecting the appropriate income series to use in measuring the ability to pay for college is also important. It is better to use the income series that represents disposable incomes, or income after taxes. Analysis of the ability to pay for higher education should also consider the economic or household unit, or the size of the family with one wage earner. Another consideration is that the comparison of education cost to income is usually made on the basis of the costs for one student, but a number of families are now supporting more than one child in college at the same time. If these considerations are taken into account, the conclusion about the ability of the middle income families to pay for their children's college education as costs increase is reversed, and there is, currently, a middle income "crunch." (SW)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: EXXON Education Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: American Council on Education, Washington, DC.