Is college still a good investment?
Higher-education skeptics are now comparing college loans to subprime mortgages—shaky credits that finance wildly overinflated assets, said Annie Lowrey in Slate.com.
It’s long been an article of “near-religious” faith that college, like housing, is a rock-solid investment, said Annie Lowrey. And as with housing, the government encourages this belief with loan guarantees and tax breaks. But just as the financial crisis has shaken Americans’ confidence in home ownership, the value of a college education has come in for an agonizing reappraisal.
The questions have mounted along with the debt that students must take on to pay for degrees that in some cases end up “worth little more than the paper they’re printed on.” Higher-education skeptics are now comparing college loans to subprime mortgages—shaky credits that finance wildly overinflated assets. But housing can be bought or sold at some price, whereas a diploma can’t be transferred at any price. That’s one of many distinctions that are important to keep in mind.
By all means, we should crack down on for-profit diploma mills, “which egregiously overcharge for worthless degrees.” But some degrees are worth the price—ask an aerospace engineer with a sheepskin from Caltech. In general, the college degree remains “a guarantor of higher lifetime earnings,” and most young people get their best shot at a better future by pursuing one.