Higher education these days is something of a case study in free-market economics.
Increases in the cost of tuition and fees routinely exceed those of bellwether inflation gauges, but attendance keeps rising, thanks largely to increases at the more expensive schools, according to the College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2010 report.
At the same time more students are borrowing more money to pay for their education, while the government is spending more on cost-free grants to students.
In the end, however, college graduates earn substantially more than those without a degree and are much less likely to become unemployed.
The lessons: Education is a competitive business, the college experience is no longer a middle-class luxury, education is a growth industry and investment pays offs.
That said, there's no shortage of skepticism about the value of America's educational system and its connection to declining rates of competitiveness.
So, how much do you know about the costs and rewards of education? Take our quiz.
Posted 1 March 2011