The Myth of the 'College Bubble'

Ann McClure's picture
Friday, September 21, 2012

A college president once quipped that higher education is one of the few things that a person is willing to pay for but not receive. Another wise observer noted that college is the rare case where the customer tries to get as little as he can for the money.

Given the jagged economic landscape, given the massive restructuring of the global economy, given the delayed retirement of the current workforce and given the lack of high-paying entry level jobs for college graduates, those jokes are no longer a laughing matter for many critics. America's colleges and universities are on the defensive, typified by a Newsweek cover story asking, "Is College a Lousy Investment?"

Newseek writer Megan McArdle argues that a higher-education bubble is about to burst, just as tech bubbles and housing bubbles burst, and that devastating chaos will result.

The article and accompanying visuals offer horror stories of students in six-figure debt. Other news coverage has reported that Americans may carry $900 billion in student loan debt.

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