First, the bad news: Tuition at America's public colleges has increased by 8.3 percent over the past year. Now the good news: Your college degree is still worth every penny. In your dreams, I mean! In real life your degree is worth exactly one penny.
But here's some for-real, real-life good news to make you feel better about your investment in higher education: Today President Obama is announcing a new student loan relief program intended to address concerns raised by the $1 trillion student loan debt burden and the fact that graduates can't find any jobs. Under this new initiative, debtors' monthly payments can be capped at 10 percent of their income—which means that they might be able to afford the payments plus a bit of food. If they haven't paid off their loans after 20 years, all the debt is forgiven, and they become born-again in the eyes of the feds. None of the reports we've read say what you're supposed to do if you're living the increasingly common "zero income" lifestyle, but maybe you can collect bottles or soup can labels and turn those in as your ten percent.
Meanwhile: Did you know that in England, the government's actually considering reducing the tuition at 28 universities? "[M]inisters are desperate to drive fees down to reduce the student loans bill amid fears that billions of pounds handed out to undergraduates will never be paid back," reports the UK Telegraph. The proposal isn't guaranteed to pass and won't be easy-peasy to implement, but still: Can you imagine that ever happening in the U.S.? It's almost like their government cares about the youth, or has come to terms with economic realities, or something weird like that.