Saturday, March 11, 2006

College Not The Best Investment?

Here's a contrarian view if I've ever heard one: perhaps college isn't as good a financial investment as it's been for the past 25 years. Hmmm. And this view is coming from an author in Forbes magazine.

Why does the price of a four-year degree keep rising? Past performance is one reason. The cost of college degrees earned in the 1940s--tuition at Yale was $450 in 1940--through the 1980s looks like a bargain compared with the cost of those today. The return on investment for older degrees has been spectacular. Take a well-known statistic: As recently as the 1970s, there was little difference in the lifetime earning potential between a high school grad and a four-year-college degree holder. But in just one generation the four-year degree holder has leaped ahead in the earnings wars. In 2003 he could have expected to earn 62% more than the high school grad...

But what if you could guarantee those qualities [intelligence, ability to set goals and achieve them--Darren] in other ways (military service, missionary work, etc.)? See, I think the Harvard or Yale degree is worth plenty, not because of what Harvard or Yale teaches--the postmodern university can do more harm than good; witness Yale’s admission of a former Taliban spokesman. The degree simply puts an official stamp on the fact that the student was intelligent, hardworking and competitive enough to get into Harvard or Yale in the first place. May I present to the jury Bill Gates? He was smart enough to get into Harvard. Then he proved his financial intelligence by dropping out to start a company. (emphasis mine--Darren)

It's worth a read. The parents at the school at which I teach will still insist on sending their kids to Stanford, though.

1 comment:

Lillian said...

Kids have so many options these days, and as a mother of a 20 year old son who would rather pursue a music career, and attend college later(or so he says), I truly admire his entrepenurial spirit, and support his endeavors.
I only wish that there had been a charter or performing arts high school which could have tapped into his vocational and business bent, and nurture his God-given artistic and musical gifts and talents. Instead, he graduated from the very best public high school in our county (high API/AYP) HATING every moment of it.
My 18 year old daughter will graduate from the same high ranking high school in June, and attend community college until she decides what she wants to do. I commend her for managing to maintain a love for learning, and a desire to continue in higher education, in spite of also HATING this overrated high-school.