After adjusting for inflation, the cost of tuition more than tripled between 1973 and 2013. That reality has been forcing more and more students to take on staggering debts.
The once-popular Aeropostale is closing stores and has posted losses for the past five quarters. It's not alone. A raft of stores that target the youth market, including Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle, are also hurting. Retail anaylsts say a handful of factors are affecting sales.
First, Aeropostale has increased competition from fast-fashion stores like Uniqlo, Forever 21 and H&M. Young people seem to prefer European-inspired clothing to the logo-branded hoodies and T-shirts favored by teens in decades past.
The electronics sector is also competing for youth dollars, with smart phones, tablets and movie and music purchases eating up a bigger part of the teen budget.
Finally, the shrinking labor market has hit teenagers, and their parents, hard. The Brookings Institution said this week that youth employment is its lowest since World War II.