First, the good news: ACT scores were flat this year compared to last year, but this obscures the fact that 5 states have all their grade 11 students take the test. So usually this kind of expanded base would lower test scores. Moreover, the percent of students who have taken a college prep recommended curriculum continues to go up.
Now the bad news : the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in Measuring Up reports that between 1982 and 2006 college tuition and fees increased by 439%. College costs have risen faster than income, inflation, and health care. In 1996 need based student aid grants made up 84% of total grants, but by 2007 this had dropped to 72%.