A new report (The Rising Price of Inequality) authored by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance and first reported on Huffington Post finds that as the price of college has risen, the number of students from low- and middle-income families has fallen.

College enrollment rates of low-income students fell from 54 percent in 1992 to 40 percent in 2004. For middle-income students, enrollment rates dropped from 59 percent to 53 percent. Meanwhile, 62 percent of low-income parents rated college expenses as "very important" in 2004, as compared with 49 percent in 1992.

These findings are not at all surprising but the report nonetheless provides important documentation of the costs of current economic trends on young people, and the inadequate government response to them.

We’ll be putting a human face on these statistics with The Nation‘s fifth annual Student Writing Contest. We’re asking both high school and college students to answer this question in 800 words: How has your education been compromised by budget cuts and tuition hikes? The deadline for submissions is this Wednesday, June 30, and we’ll announce winners and finalists by September 15.

In the meantime, please use the comments field below to carry on the conversation and let us know how you or someone you know has been affected by budget cuts and tuition hikes.