Worthless Complaining About College Costs
> 9/6/2006 11:59:37 AM

Writing in the New York Times, William Chace, former president of Emory and Wesleyan Universities, discusses the financial aspects of going to college. Chace lays out the financial aspects of getting through college: an average of $32,000 for a private institution or $15,000 for a public one. And don’t forget debt. Lots of dept.

Chace hits many negative notes including underpaid professors, unnecessary amenities that increase costs and overpaid administrators and coaches. He does address the fact that college provides a leg up, but continues to underscore the fact that students will eventually leave school with massive amounts of dept and that colleges are businesses just like any other.

ANd you know what, Chace is right, students do leave college with dept and most universities are run like a business. Unfortunately, Chace doesn’t mention that college grads make roughly 75% more than those with only a high school diploma. All in all, that difference accounts for around $900,000, most likely more than enough to cover that college debt. Beyond that, a degree from a highly “competitive” college, like an Ivy, has been found to be even more valuable and a better predictor of success than other measures like SAT score or high school GPA. Chace does mention that more often than not, it is students whose families have money that tend to go to these types of schools, a fact that may account for some of this discrepancy.

He also fails to mention any of the actual economics that contribute to rising college costs. Spots at elite and even not-so-elite universities are scarce resources. The cost of a university education is driven up in large part by the demand for that education. So colleges have a pretty huge income (because none of this even takes into account the endowments and alumni and parent giving rates). This money needs to be spent on things, and what could be better than fringe benefits that will only serve to increase demand. Hmmm, and why would demand be so high, even in the face of rising prices? How about the nice chunk of change that awaits graduates in the form of higher expected income and everything that comes along with that. The evidence seems clear, go to school, and get the most prestigious education you can.

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