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Up until a few years ago, almost everyone agreed that college was, without a doubt, absolutely, 100%, the ticket to the good life.
And to some extent, that’s still true. College grads earn 84% more than high school graduates, according to a 2011 study. But, we also pay tens — and in some cases, hundreds — of thousands of dollars for that education, taking on massive debt to finance it and graduating into a shaky marketplace that doesn’t guarantee a job for even the highest achievers.
So…has higher education turned into a scam? Is it really worth what we’re paying for it today?
With Congress and President Obama finally striking a compromise this week, over student-loan rates, we figured it was time to really dig into it: Why college is so freaking expensive, where that money is going, and most importantly, what should we have known when we were 17 – that we didn’t?
Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza