Statistics like this are what have many of us involved with higher ed feeling queasy. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, John Pelletier reports:
"The College Board reports that from 1981 to 2011, after adjusting for inflation, the average published cost of going to college is up 180% for private, nonprofit four-year colleges and 268% for in-state, public four-year colleges."
Note that this is after adjusting for inflation. Pelletier's article provides a succinct review of many other alarming stats as well:
J. Pelletier / Wall Street Journal: Why go to college if I can't get a job?
Despite the higher ed cost bubble, it is still important to recognize the historical value of a college degree, as Pelletier notes:
"The Economic Policy Institute study shows that the recent unemployment rate for high school graduates between age 17 and 20 who aren't enrolled in additional schooling is 31.1%. And their underemployment rate is 50.4%."