So, once again, the ineffectual New York Times examines the issue by quoting studies conducted by... guess who? Elite college educators. Should we buy their self-serving studies? Here's some of the notable points:
...One of those authors, Scott L. Thomas, a sociologist who is a professor of educational studies at Claremont, said high school students and their parents should take any attempt to apply broad generalizations to such personal choices with a grain of salt.
“Prestige does pay,” Mr. Thomas said in an interview. “But prestige costs, too. The question is, is the cost less than the added return?”
Among the most cited research on the subject — a paper by economists from the RAND Corporation and Brigham Young and Cornell Universities — found that “strong evidence emerges of a significant economic return to attending an elite private institution, and some evidence suggests this premium has increased over time.”
“Education is a long-run investment,” said Professor Eide, chairman of the economics department at Brigham Young, “It may be more painful to finance right now. People may be more hesitant to go into debt because of the recession. In my opinion, they should be looking over the long run of their child’s life.”I'm happy that RAND was involved because it's relatively objective. Of course, it should be noted that "RAND is also the home to the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, one of the original graduate programs in public policy and the first to offer a Ph.D." So, I guess they are in on it too. So, I credit them and discredit them in one paragraph. Lovely.
I don't know who is better suited to provide an unbiased study of the actual value of an elite college education. However, I'm certain that educators will never tell you that an education, elite or not, is not worth the cost. It's funny that these educators are cited in an article that directly affects them. It would be comical and absurd if car manufacturers were quoted in a story claiming that expensive cars are safer than inexpensive cars. So why does an article like this make it into the esteemed New York Times? I'll tell you why, because we respect educators and colleges. We expect that they will be honest and truthful when they have proven to be anything but. Just look at the way they rip off students. If you remember, in the post I did about No Sucker Left Behind, it's apparent that colleges see their students as an ATM. A few examples, once again:
1. Bait and Switch Scholarship: The first year that I attended FYU (Fuck You University), I was given a scholarship based on ... hell, I didn't know. I had good grades in high school, so I assumed it was based on merit. I filled out a FAFSA, and I got a scholarship. At the end of first year, I filled out another FAFSA. I had a 4.0 (all of college actually)--so I assumed I would get the same financial package, but the scholarship was gone--POOF. It was gone. I asked about it and I was told that it just wasn't available to me anymore. Classic bait and switch. Give the freshman a great financial aid packages and pull out the rug from under them and they are stuck. What are they going to do, transfer?
2. FYU had an average sports team. One year, the school made it to finals or playoffs or whatever they are called, and the next year, tuition went up by 20%. As it turns out, the reason why schools give a shit about their sports team is NOT school spirit. Rather, it's the greatest marketing tool ever. If the team is doing great, then you can justify a hike in tuition. Oh yah, alumna love to donate money to their schools when the sports team is doing well.
3. Did you ever wonder why vital classes were offered only once a year, and not in the summer? Why can't organic chemistry be offered every semester when it's the prerequisite to so many majors? It's not JUST because the professors are lazy shits. It's also because, if you don't fix your schedule perfectly, you're forced to enroll for one additional semester. I was wondering why so many people graduate from college in 5 years, rather than 4. That's why!In the end, I don't even care what the premise of the article is. Educators would never discount a college education altogether, as they should, because they make too much perpetrating a fraud on America. The issue shouldn't be whether an elite college is worth it, it should be whether a college education is worth it. They are nearly all over priced. College is a great experience, it's true. But it doesn't make you more marketable. It's a luxury, i.e. reserved for people who can afford it--but you'll never hear it from the educators. Who would put themselves out of business?