KENT -- A new report shows the cost of a college degree has increased more than 1,100 percent in 30 years.
A Bloomberg report shows tuition is outpacing food, many other goods, even medical expenses, since records begin in 1978.
Costs are one of the biggest concerns for families as students head back to campus this fall.
"I knew that it was going to be expensive," said Kim Falatic, of LaGrange.
Collin Falatic starts class at Kent State University in 10 days. For his mom, Kim, it means another son in college, and two more still in high school.
"A little bit of sticker shock when you add it all up and divide out, how much that comes out to monthly payment," she said.
Both parents will try to pick up extra shifts for the college fund. Kent State, like dozens of other state schools, will cost 3.5 percent more this year than last.
Here, 85 percent of students receive financial aid, but most of that is student loans. About a third receive Pell Grants, federal money that doesn't have to be paid back.
The most costly mistake a student can make?
"I didn't apply for any scholarships," said Cody Byler, an incoming freshman who says he received some external award money for school.
"The number one thing that families can do is, obviously, be informed of the application process, aware of the application deadlines, and then review all the financial aid options," said Director of Student Financial Aid Mark Evans.
No matter what you make, Evans says you should apply for aid. It's not too late, even for this school year.
"Maybe the average student borrows $25,000 to $28,000 a year, and if you compare that to the cost of a car, you put it in some perspective, that obviously the college education will last them a lifetime," he said.
Students say they still believe a college degree is worth the cost, but it's hard to fathom graduating more than $100,000 in debt.
Evans says the payoff is still ten-fold.
"If you look at the lifelong earnings for those with a college education in terms of a bachelor's degree or higher, family income is usually a million dollars more than those without it," he said.