If you have "no place to go," come here!

Now they tell us

College: Big Investment, Paltry Return. Not, of course, for everyone: The ROI is not evenly distributed.

Gosh, who would have predicted that. But let's look on the up side: Think of all that debt, and all that rent!

NOTE Hat tip for link to BIDER, BDBlue.

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S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

The article doesn't discuss that the primary benefit "elite"universities bestow is connections and that averages disguise reality, a well known example is:

When Bill Gates walks into a room filled with 50 poor people the average wealth in the room is a billion dollars, when Bill walks back out, you're back to poverty.

So too with college, most rich kids go to college and most go to elite schools through endowments/legacy, so of course the numbers would skew upward. Then too, those who meet rich kids at exclusive enclaves will also receive far more opportunities to ingratiate themselves to the future masters of the estate.

A little something I learned the other day, 50% of graduating engineers are involuntarily working outside of the profession by their fifteenth year in the working world. Assuming a 45 career is normal, that means 66% of engineers are not marketable at any given time. CEO's regularly go before congress to have employment rules re-written on H1-B's and L1 so as to mitigate a "shortage" where the reality is there are 2 times more than needed.

Consider we graduate ~ 40,000 engineers/year in the US. We bring in 65,000 H1-B's, with Public Universities bringing in some additional 45,000 off-books in 2010, in 2003 it was 198,000 + 65,000. And those do not include the rapidity expanding L1's who number something like 100,000 this year.

Clearly, industry with University collusion set out to destroy the value of the Engineering degree. When I speak to potential engineering students I advise against the career path unless they have passports to other countries that value their scientifically trained population. The CEO's and lawyers who run this country despise engineers and scientists. The idiotic response to the BP oil spill should show the efficacy of such attitudes.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on


As for the elite having their own places to meet. That is certainly true, but money still only migrates towards money. If you do get in to an "elite" school, you can potentially parlay your connections into a role as lackey to the wealthy (i.e. Obama, Clinton, et. al.), but you are basically going to remain a wage-slave (granted, the wages may be very high). In other words, the only funding you will get is a cush job extending the power of the elite. For that they are willing to spend on a pay/performance basis. All others bring cash.

Historiann's picture
Submitted by Historiann on

are all private regionals with little cachet outside of their respective regions. This is predictable, if still useful, information. It highlights the value of public unis, and the perils of any private school (for-profits especially, IMHO).

The article shows that college grads still on average make $400,000 more over 30 years than high school grads. Would you like an extra $13,000/year this year? I sure would. That's still real money to most people.

In any case: is a college education really only about the acquisition of money? (Pretend we're not living in the United States of Amnesia for a few minutes.) All things considered, universities have made the U.S. a better place, on balance. Not all students who enter leave it a better place, and there surely is a lot of wastage that the system encourages. But we shouldn't see the value of education as purely vocational.

I like to think that teaching at a university and introducing them to interesting, new ideas and writers helps young people develop rich and complex inner lives in adulthood. Even if we leave aside the value of those inner lives for artistic and creative thought and work, think of the savings in mental health services!