It occurs to me there’s math involved in the “is it worth it” debate, and that math changes for each major and prospective job.

There are two variables in the equation. First is the cost of the degree required to get the job wanted; the second is the pay expected once the job is obtained.

With the cost of education escalating at frightening rates, into a relatively flat wage economy (obviously, there are differences for different specialties) you may be able to argue TODAY, broadly, that “education is worth it”, but if those trend lines continue at their current slopes……. you’re not always going to be able to say that. Here’s a straw man to illustrate what I mean:

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Image for post

The green line, which represents starting salary, starts at the current average for a graduating college student with a BA, and then inflates at 1.5%, which is approximately what sort of wage inflation we’ve had over the last few years. The red line, which represents the best case 4-year tuition scenario (in-state resident), starts at the current national average for in-state resident tuition, then inflates at the current tuition average, which is (gulp!) 6%.

As you can see the current starting salary pays back the current cost of the bachelors. However, starting in 2026, the starting salary does NOT pay for the cost of the education, and then the delta between the two lines grows rather quickly.

We all understand that each pairing of major and job will have its own unique graph, but the point being made holds; at the present rates of wage and tuition appreciation, Tucker Carlson may be wrong TODAY, but he’s not going to be wrong for long. Unless tuitions are brought under control (and its TUITIONS that must be brought under control, without depending on larger and larger contributions from taxpayers and parents who are already cash-strapped) a bachelors degree will, within two decades, be a luxury affordable only by a few, and that in only certain, high paying majors fields.

Tuitions cannot continue to rise by 6% per annum. Gimmicks, such as taking the first year for free using dual credit and AP courses, doing the first two years at community college, and online courses, are limited; once everyone’s doing them, there’s no more to do.

Nobody can claim to be “pro college education” without having a solution to incent the uni’s to halt the insane increases in tuitions. Lower financing costs doesn’t do it; “free college” (which isn’t free) doesn’t do it.

Written by

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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