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College is still worth the price

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In theory, this higher education bubble should pop any time now. You know about economic bubbles. That’s when the cost of an investment rises faster than the return, and then surpasses it, and suddenly everyone ducks out. The last people in on the deal take a bath as the value of their investment assets plunge, because nobody wants them anymore.

Maybe higher education is a little like real estate. People want it, and will pay for it, because there is a good return on the investment — better employment prospects and higher earnings. Then the cost of the investment rises — in the form of double-digit annual tuition hikes. It rises faster than the return, as the job market weakens in recession. Eventually, perhaps soon according to some, we will reach the point where the investment in higher education is a loser. A college degree will not be worth the price. People will duck out, demand will plunge, and the system will crumble.

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