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May 18, 2011


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Bill -- if she's in the arts, then Oberlin is a great school, lots of history, tons of great profs and small, artsy town ambiance that's just 35 minutes from the city. Whether she'll make $200,000 soon after is anyone's guess -- I'm a public school guy, myself, so my University of Washington and (currently) Kent State seem fine with me, and at MUCH lower cost.

Also, if she's in the performing arts, Baldwin-Wallace College is great... Cleveland's in your future!


Just made a very similar decision last year sending my son to Kenyon. We had options for other private colleges with lower costs and scholarships, but it was his first choice AND he loves English which is one of Kenyon's strong suits. So it was nearly impossible to say no, but this blog just gives more rise to a nagging feeling I keep having about higher education, (and debt), in general.

What I will say is that he and his peers are much more mindful of the sacrifice being made on their behalf than I was when I went to, a private, college. He regularly asks about finances and thanks us for the opportunities. And driving him home last week, (the 10 or 11 hour drive may be more painful than the tuition), I was very happy to hear him review his year and state more than once, "I really learned a lot this year". That helped assuage the pain slightly.

Bill Paarlberg

Thanks for the comments, Sean and Dweingrod. My own Oberlin education now seems a priceless treasure (I second your comments on the school, Sean), despite the debt it left me with and that weighted heavily on me in my 20s.

Part of me wants my daughter to have a comparable education. But one of the things my education experience taught me was a fear of debt. If in two years she gets the chance to borrow $10 or $20 a year to finance her own Oberlin degree, I'll be caught between pride and wanting to warn her against it.

I have good friends who have prospered without a college education. Perhaps the future holds alternative opportunities for education and advancement that will force traditional higher education to modify its model.

Nuno Andrade

The Student Loan Corporation had a recent infographic on the ROI of particular majors. At the end of the day, it's the major that will determine the career, although the school you go to has a lot to do with the type of job you have as well. Take a look at the SLC infographic here: https://www.studentloan.com/pay_for_college/roicollegemajors.htm

Bill Paarlberg

Thank you, Nuno. That’s a great infographic and a great point. I notice they use Years to Break Even. Which obscures the potential problem of college loans that may take many, many years to pay back. --Bill

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