The Paradox of the Value of College

The unemployment rate for college grads is about half what it is for those without a degree. All of the jobs growth that took place over the last decade has gone to those with a degree. College pays. Or as former Treasury secretary Larry Summers put it, "I think a college education is expensive, but it is very cheap compared to ignorance."

But there are always other sides to the story. Last month I sat down with Hoover Institute economist Russ Roberts, who gave a fascinating take on how the value of education has changed over the past few decades. Have a look:


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  • Report this Comment On March 18, 2013, at 10:21 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    Yes, an education pays. An education in personal finance is worth it's weight in gold.

    The problem with college is that too many overspend for what they get. There is a tendency to compare the rewards of a Yale degree and say it is typical. Those rewards are not.

    Before anyone goes into debt to the tune of $40K a year plus credit cards for a sheepskin on the wall, they had better do their homework.

    Here's the facts:

    4 years of debt at $40k per year = $160,000.

    Credit card debt for "extras" = $25,000

    Lost wages while spinning wheels in college = $160,000 or more.

    The true cost of a poorly planned college education = $345,000.

    "Priceless"

  • Report this Comment On March 18, 2013, at 11:08 PM, herky46q wrote:

    Love the part about STEM.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2013, at 6:20 PM, hbofbyu wrote:

    The problem with college is the problem of our society. What is the value of an education?

    If your sole motivation is to earn more money then you are lost. The most important of all knowledge is "how best to live". If school is only to learn your trade and make money then your education is trivial. Most people live in shameful ignorance regarding matters of ethics and morals and understanding life - even with degrees from Harvard and MIT.

    One of the bigger mistakes we have made in Western civilization is diminishing a liberal education and looking at a degree only as a return on investment.

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