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What's driving college costs higher?

Published: Thursday, June 28 2012 6:31 a.m. MDT

A young man holds up a dollar sign during an Occupy Wall Street rally against the high cost of college tuitions April 25, 2012 in New York. Scores of students and former students gathered to complain about the high cost of tuitions and college loans. April 25th marked the day when US student debt reached USD 1 trillion.

Don Emmert/AFP/GettyImages

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Our take: College is now four times more expensive than it was 3 decades ago, pushing student loan debt over $1 trillion. A key reason for this growth is the competition among schools for status and prestige, says Kevin Carey, education policy director at the New America Foundation.

Just days before student loan rates are set to double for millions of Americans, President Obama and congressional leaders haven't reached an agreement on legislation to keep those rates at 3.4 percent.

The debate reflects the growing concern over the debt burden many take on to get a college education. About two-thirds of bachelor's degree recipients borrow money to attend college, and collectively, student debt has topped $1 trillion.

Read more about What's Driving College Costs Higher? on NPR.org.

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