College isn’t worth it anymore

It would appear that the value of a college degree is actually about one-third of its previously estimated value. And that’s without factoring either opportunity cost or 4.5 years of lost wages into the value equation.

If there’s one truism that goes virtually unchallenged these days, it’s that a college degree has great value. Beyond the great books, beyond the critical reasoning skills, and beyond the experience itself, there’s another way that a college degree has value: Over the course of a working life, college graduates earn more than high school graduates. Over the past decade, research estimates have pegged that figure at $900,00, $1.2 million, and $1.6 million.

But new research suggests that the monetary value of a college degree may be vastly overblown. According to a study conducted by PayScale for Bloomberg Businessweek, the value of a college degree may be a lot closer to $400,000 over 30 years and varies wildly from school to school. According to the PayScale study, the number of schools that actually make good on the estimates of the earlier research is vanishingly small. There are only 17 schools in the study whose graduates can expect to recoup the cost of their education and out-earn a high school graduate by $1.2 million….

One-third of what was previously estimated… that sounds familiar somehow… ah, perhaps this is why.

Like most things, it comes down to supply and demand. Full-time college enrollment has increased 44 percent since I graduated in 1990. The US population has increased 20 percent, thus rendering a generic college degree approximately 24 percent less valuable while the cost has risen 63 percent in constant dollars. Even if you assume that you graduate successfully, your education dollar is worth about 28 percent of one spent in 1990.

Let’s face it. Scientific studies are largely superflous when you’ve got a superintelligence handy.

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