There are no rules of thumb for what families should pay for college, nothing akin to the principle of paying no more than 30 percent of your income toward housing. Those sorts of personal-finance maxims, while not hard and fast rules, give consumers and policymakers a framework for affordability. And that’s exactly what’s needed in higher education, according to the Lumina Foundation.
The education nonprofit released a paper Wednesday aiming to define college affordability in terms of what families can and should pay. It proposes that families pay for college with 10 percent of their discretionary income saved over 10 years and that students work 10 hours a week while in school.