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Colleges in Trouble24:07
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Students walk on the campus at Wells College in Aurora, N.Y. in Sept. 2007. (AP)
Students walk on the campus at Wells College in Aurora, N.Y. in Sept. 2007. (AP)

Private endowments are plummeting. Public coffers are empty. The endless tuition increases that pushed the cost of an education up much faster than inflation — impossible when mom and dad and junior face the risk of unemployment and the reality of a credit crunch.

There’s an “end of an era” feeling out there.

This hour, On Point: The crunch comes to the American campus.

You can join the conversation. Can the American way – and cost – of college education go on? How do we protect and retool this great American asset?Guests:

Joining us from Philadelphia is Joni Finney, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. She’s spearheaded the effort to create a nationwide report card on college costs, called “Measuring Up," produced by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Their headline-grabbing report came out last week, showing how college has become increasingly unaffordable for families. She’s author of the forthcoming book “Financing Higher Education in an Era of Global Challenge.”

From Charlottesville, Virginia, we're joined by David Breneman, professor and economist at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. He’s one of the country’s leading experts on issues of financing in higher education.

From Washington, we're joined by Paul Fain, a senior reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education. He covers college administrations across the country, and he's been writing a series called “Sticker Shock” about the cost issues closing in on colleges.

More links:

Today's Boston Globe reports on the funding crunch hitting colleges around the country.

The New York Times reported on the new "Measuring Up" report card about declining college affordability.

And the Wall Street Journal's Eric Gibson writes about colleges "pleading poverty."

This program aired on December 8, 2008.

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