The Value of Sending Your Kids to College

This was raised in the Canada <> US thread

And for the first time ever…the sticker price for a US College will hit $100,000/year.

I think the only people that actually pay those absurd prices are international students and the truly wealthy in the US.

Still, that is a crazy number.

Some Colleges Will Soon Charge $100,000 a Year. How Did This Happen?

A USC Alum just told me that USC hit $90k.

Counting room, board, etc. BU has apparently hit $90k as well. Tuition “only” $60k.

Yeah, my old university is 4-year tuition of $55k and including room and board, excluding books and other incidentals, is around $105k now.

My university is NOT worth $105k. It’s the shittiest of the big-name colleges in my state, wasn’t amazing when I was there and has only gotten worse since. Correspondingly, student enrollment has gone down from around 26k (for the year closest to my graduation contained in their latest report) to 14k in 2023.

But how is their economics department doing?

From Memory so you may need to check the details.

  1. 1970’s early 1980’s regular use of a graph and stat that shows a 4-year college grad versus a HS grad makes one million dollars more over their lifetime.
  2. Stats showing how POCs and the poor were significantly less likely to go college. Concerns about creating a permanent underclass without class mobility, something considered bad for society. (Remember discussion of class mobility as a measure of the economy?)
  3. HS guidance embraces the go to college, make a million dollars. Reagan era decision to open up loans to students so they could borrow against that million dollars. As I recall more money given by the government, guarantees to protect the loans for the banks, and eventually removal of student loans from bankruptcy consideration.
  4. Banks and colleges go all in on the new market, driving up the number of students. (glut of demand, suppliers raise prices)
  5. Over time education providers start competing for “the best” students with no limit on what the student loans could be used for. Colleges compete by upping the college experience, better living conditions, health club facilities, etc. You can only compete so much on the education side particularly with the top levels wrapped up by an insular self-promoting group and huge endowments.
  6. Rinse repeat for a few decades and you have society telling high schoolers “You have to go to college.” Educational administrations lose the ability to budget and plan fiscally.
  7. Last few years, the exchange of debt for potential future income does not work for enough people that push back with shopping for education based on price starts to drive the market. Also, digital alternatives increase competition.
  8. Colleges and Universities headed by administrations that know nothing other than fund growth by raising tuition are burdened with large, bloated infrastructures and a need to reduce tuition.

Prediction. Many (most?) small/midsize private colleges/universities will fail over the next decade.


I don’t get why anyone would pay that much to go to Vandy.

“I hired this person because they went to Vandy, what an amazing school.”

…said nobody ever.


my kid is applying to schools and so i note the costs. local privates here show a sticker of ~$70k-72K. the one with national draw is $82k.

the east coast schools are higher. like $82K-high $80’s. I didn’t look too carefully bc i didn’t consider them to be viable (applied to for funsies i guess - but they did get into my alma mater!).

i have said for a while that a large scale contraction of schools must be coming. But it hasn’t happened at the scale I expected since I first noted it (early 00’s). there are a lot of mid-tier places that are private and expensive and all they sell is that they are private and have squatted on a location. they have no sizzle and likely won’t gain it and eventually they will lose applicants without finding a niche that sustains their existence.

Colleges love fuerdai

gonna be in for a bad time when the Chinese great recession happens

You don’t pay for education at top tier schools, or even for reputation directly, you pay for access to a network of alumni who will accept you as one of them. The connections are far more powerful than the coursework. Being a Yale graduate might impress someone, but they won’t necessarily hire you because of it. But you don’t need to apply like everyone else does anyway, because you have ins because of your alma mater.


I agree with your paragraph but we’re talking about Vandy here which is kind of a joke of a school.

You think the Vanderbilt connection never helped Anderson Cooper in his career?

Note: While I assumed he didn’t go to his family’s school, I didn’t realize he went to Yale.

I respect Andy cause he actually had a hard time getting a job after college and started out in the back room at Channel One.

Vandy might be okay, but it’s in an awkward spot in the rankings where there are public schools that outrank it so the price tag tells me that it’s mostly full of rich kids who aren’t that talented.

“Because I’m not a Vanderbilt, suddenly I’m white trash? I grew up in Bel Air, across the street from Aaron Spelling. I think most people would agree that’s a lot better than some stinky old Vanderbilt!”

If you’re not going to an Ivy League/Stanford type school, you may as well go to the best state school in your state. Those tuitions are still not that bad. The marginal benefit to going to a private school that’s not the afore-mentioned Ivy league (there is none), vs the cost, is a no-brainer.

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Vanderbilt’s acceptance rate is really low and the average SAT is really high. Seems odd.

Some people are into paying $100k a year for college

It’s some sort of odd fetish

Check out findom to learn more

It’s for access to the alumni network. So, more like an odd investment strategy.