Phi Beta Cons

Re: Is it worth it?

Whether the prodigious cost of going to an elite school is justified by the supposed increase in lifetime earning potential is a question more and more people are asking. The conventional wisdom, of course, is that there is a direct relationship here — the more prestigious the university, the better the student’s chances in life. The education establishment thrives on examined assumptions and this one is a keystone.
Back in 1999, Stacy B. Dale and Alan Krueger published a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research entitled “Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables.” You can read the paper’s abstract <a href="

http://papers.nber.org/papers/W7322″>here.
Their conclusions, as summarized by Russell Nieli in an excellent paper published by National Association of Scholars (“The Changing Shape of the

River: Affirmative Action and Recent Social Science Research,” October 2004) “clearly undermine the notion that elite universities provide some sort of unique pathway to wealth, power, and occupational prestige in America.”
In the still substantially meritocratic United States, you succeed on the basis of your productivity. Credentials can open doors, but they don’t make people productive.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Most Popular

Re: Is it worth it?

Whether the prodigious cost of going to an elite school is justified by the supposed increase in lifetime earning potential is a question more and more people are asking. The conventional wisdom, of course, is that there is a direct relationship here — the more prestigious the university, the better the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘We Can’t Afford It’

Leon Trotsky — n.b., Millennials: He was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez before she was — understood the power of single-payer systems: “The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced with a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.” The socialist powers of Trotsky’s time made good on ... Read More
U.S.

When the Press Sees Red

You’ve probably seen the viral footage of a Native American beating his drum, surrounded by a crowd of students from Covington Catholic high school. One of them, wearing a MAGA hat, is right in front of him, with a smirk on his face. It was an odd moment combining the end of the March for Life, which the ... Read More