For some time now in the US, with each generation a greater percentage of the population attends college. Is it because attending college has become cheaper?

   Initially, looking at tuition and books, one would be tempted to say that college is more expensive now than ever. But the fact is, college is probably cheaper now than ever, once we understand the true cost of college. Certainly the "out-of-pocket" costs of college are very high these days. But the greatest cost of college has always been forgone income, the money you could have earned if you hadn't gone to college and instead, pursued a career full time after high school.

   In the US, at least, the difference between earnings for those with a college degree and those without is very large. This is not because a college degree guarantees you a great job, but because without one it's very hard to find a job that pays well. This means that the relative income given up by attending college is at its lowest ever. Thus, college is cheaper than it's ever been (even if it doesn't feel like it) and the proportion of the population attending is, understandably, higher than ever.

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