A highly-educated population is a well-understood pillar of a strong economy. At risk with rising college costs is America's ability to educate those at the post-secondary level. As Noël Harmon and Blair Forlaw, of The Huffington Post report, "[c]ollege price tags have been rising for 30 years, up 570% between 1982 and 2011...That's almost four times the rate of growth in median family income."
The federal and state governments lack of progress in curbing rising costs has energized some regions, who are collaborating with private business to create more local and regionalized efforts at lowering the barriers to a college education. For example, in St. Louis, "area companies, educators, foundations, and government agencies, have set out together to raise post-secondary graduation rates."
Harmon and Forlaw spotlight three strategies St. Louis "has decided they must do if they are to make a significant difference." One is researching data, "to get to know college-goers better." The last two include encouraging innovation and taking advantage of opportunities to collaborate. All three hope to attack the cost of college, from both the standpoint of the student and of the educational institution.
Efforts such as these highlight the growing importance of local government initiatives to addressing such challenges as mobility, sustainability, and economic development.