I can't be the only one looking at those numbers and deciding the system isn't sustainable.
This is playing a role in how I'm planning for the eventuality of college. I opened a 529, and am committing myself to a few hundred dollars a month for it, which at today's projections will not be enough even if it gets a 6% return over its 18 year life (which I think is overly optimistic). The alternative is to buy into the Michigan Education Trust, which will sell you a fully paid college tuition (128 credit hours to any Michigan public university) for something like $117,000, if I remember right). At 6% interest for 18 years that's around $350,000 depending how you compound. $350,000. For a middle of the road state school. And that's supposed to represent a significant savings over the actual cost (since you're buying now).
So they're projecting that in the mid 2030s a college degree from a reputable-but-not-elite state school is going to be the price of a brand new 6 series every year. Considering the number of people who could afford that, I'm calling bullshit. For example, My wife and I both make very good salaries; our mortgage is $320,000, and I would be hesitant to go any higher. We've both been working in our industries for a long time, have built a good niche for ourselves, are close to free of other debts, and we wouldn't take on half a million in debt. These kids are supposed to do that with an entry level salary? I could barely afford my rent when I was just out of college. Give me a break.
The way we fund education has to change. Not because it's the morally correct thing to do (and it is certainly that), but because the alternative is full blown Idiocracy. The people should riot if nothing changes. I'm very heartened by the WV teachers' strike, and there is talk that it could possibly lead to similar action in Oklahoma. Things are already so bad that there could be collective action in OK. Let that sink in. That is why I think the Michigan Education Trust is a bad bet. There's no way we're going to continue on this trajectory, because we will have crashed into the goddam mountain long before we arrive at our destination. Fuck you, GOP.
Edit: Wait, also, Fuck you, democrats.