The returns to education to those who finish a degree (especially in a STEM major) are huge. The high price of college easily pays for itself several times over.
HOWEVER, if you major in a non-STEM subject it may not. Similarly, if you drop out without a degree (a quarter to a half of all students), you will have smaller debt but also a smaller salary which makes paying off the debt much harder.
The big increases in tuition seem to track the increases in subsidies offered by the government.
Most of this info is taken from Marginal Revolution Blog Posts on Higher Education.
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