Renee Colvert
Updated March 19, 2017 8:10 am
Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images

Ask anyone to describe the rising cost of college tuition in the US, and you’ll likely get an angry or flabbergasted response. And that response would be justified. Because while there are a handful of reasons to feel hopeful about the laughable price of getting a higher education, (companies are stepping up and politicians are stepping in), the investment management company Vanguard just estimated the cost of college in 2035, and…we’ve got some work ahead of us.

The average cost of tuition today is $18, 943 per year for a public college and $42, 419 for a private college.

Which is daunting by itself, but then you consider that tuition has been rising close to 6% each year. If you’re a high school freshman, the numbers five years from now could be around $25,350 per year for a public university and around $56,766 per year for a private university.

What if you’re a baby just entering the higher education game?

Hold on to your binkies. When you look 18 years ahead to 2035, colleges could have a tuition of $54,070 per year, and private colleges could be looking at a tuition of $121,078 per year.

Let’s do a little quick math here. The projected cost of college in 2035 of $121,078 multiplied by four…that’s $484,312 for a four-year degree.

It could cost half a million dollars to go to college by 2035.

And that’s just for one kid! If there’s a sibling, or heaven forbid siblings, families could be looking at a multi-million dollar price tag.

Now all of this would be fine and good if you are Scrooge McDuck.

Or, it would even be okay if income rates were also seeing a 6% annual increase. But they’re not. BuzzFeed reports that in 2015, the average income for households with kids rose 4.3%, and in 2014, it only rose by 3%. You don’t have to be a mathematician to put together, that doesn’t add up to a debt free situation.

So, that’s it? Everyone’s screwed and no one will be able to afford higher education?

Not at all, there’s plenty programs out there to make this less dismal. Numerous lawmakers and politicians are fighting to make college affordable or free. And, several schools are creating programs to help. But one thing is for sure. We have a lot of work to do to make college affordable for the next generation.