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Notes From the Fieldby Martin Weil

May 21, 2014

Public Universities More Cost Effective than Private

It just seems absurd, to pay 60 grand a year so that you can read Rousseau. I mean I can read Rousseau right here. Hell, I can hire sometime to read it to me, teach me French, and then read it to me in French for that kind of money. It’s absolutely nuts!

So notes Thomas Frank, political analysts and former WSJ columnist, in this web radio interview discussing the results of Payscale’s annual report College Returns on Investment. The bottom line seems to be that unless your student expects significant college aid, attending a public college has an equal or higher lifetime earnings payoff to attending a comparable private university, at a far lower total cost.  There are a very few private school outliers with (surprise) Harvey Mudd topping a list of schools that also includes MIT, CalTech, NYU-Poly, and Stanford in the top ten for lifetime earnings.

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