College tuition has increased over the past few decades at a rate that has outpaced inflation, putting college out of reach for many students. Ironically, the financial aid designed to mitigate this problem may actually have the opposite effect.
The cost of higher education has grown faster than inflation for decades. Travis Mitchell of U.S. News & World Report found that between 1995 and 2016, average tuition and fees at national universities rose 179 percent, while in-state tuition and fees rose almost 300 percent. During the same period, the Consumer Price Index (which tracks inflation) rose only about 55 percent. There are many explanations for this sharp increase in the cost of higher education.