College Isn’t Always Worth It

Statistics show that four-year college graduates earn 68% more than people with only a high school degree. This has led politicians to funnel enormous subsidies into higher education, and for some on the left to go further and call for college to be free entirely. There are good reasons to think that college’s true value is much less than what is implied by surface-level numbers. Family income, for instance, affects a child’s future earnings. If college graduates come from disproportionately high-income backgrounds, their average income will be higher—but a good portion of this may be due to background, not college. Many tend to think of a bachelor’s degree as a voucher, redeemable for higher earnings down the road. But this article shows that it might be more of a complement for existing talents, to improve upon them and make them more marketable. It takes both ability and education to land a well-paying job—the latter cannot substitute for the former. College is not for everyone.

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