The Wall Street Journal writes up a study showing that fewer Americans think college is a good investment. The Journal article doesn't get into the reasons, but there are quite a few possibilities. It could be that Americans are figuring out it really doesn't make sense to spend 4+ years and $200,000+ just to get a degree, which is what most students end up with, rather than real knowledge and thinking skills.
It could also be, though, that Americans are responding to changes in higher education finance.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, under which if you are engaged in "public service" you can stop paying back your student loans after 10 years. A broad definition of "public service" applies that includes just about all government employees, "public interest" lawyers, employees of non-profit organizations, teachers, college professors, and nurses. There's a separate move under way in Congress to allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy.
If you can borrow money for college without really having to pay it back, saving for college starts to looks like not such a good investment. And that doesn't even get into the financial aid programs of the highly selective private colleges, which often reward families with generous grants if the families consumed (took fancy vacations, bought or leased expensive cars) rather than saving for college.
Thanks to reader-participant-watchdog-community member-contributor-content co-creator E. for sending the link.