The New York Times reports that the rising cost of college, even before the recession, threatens to put higher education out of reach for most Americans, according to the annual report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Overall, the report found, college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, adjusted for inflation, while median family income rose 147 percent. Student borrowing has more than doubled in the last decade, and students from lower-income families, on average, get smaller grants from the colleges they attend than students from more affluent families. "If we go on this way for another 25 years, we won’t have an affordable system of higher education," said Patrick M. Callan, president of the center, a nonpartisan organization that promotes access to higher education. "When we come out of the recession," Callan added, "we’re really going to be in jeopardy, because the educational gap between our work force and the rest of the world will make it very hard to be competitive. Already, we’re one of the few countries where 25- to 34-year-olds are less educated than older workers." Although college enrollment has continued to rise in recent years, Callan said, it is not clear how long that can continue…

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