Education: Cost vs. Value

In the July/August issue of MORE Magazine Lynn Sherr interviews journalist Claudia Dreifus, the author of a new book titled Higher Education? How Colleges Are wasting Our money and Failing Our Kids-and What We Can Do About It. Dreifus is critical of universities - especially Ivy League schools - that charge enormous amounts of tuition but don't provide the quality of education that students need and deserve. 

Dreifus is critical of how universities squander money on staff perks, sports teams, and empire-building, and not enough to helping students get a high quality education. She cites the high number of classes being taught not by professors but by graduate students, adjuncts, or visiting professors. She advocates a return to the fundamentals that stretch students' minds such as science, history, philosophy, and English. 

While I agree that Dreifus is certainly on the right track, she stops short of mentioning those topics that are almost completely absent from schools, even in college: real-world skills like financial education, leadership, economics, and communication, to name a few.

The test of a good education is this: What can you DO with it? A college education can be good if it helps you get the job you want. But these days that's a big "if." If you want to be a business owner or investor, you'll need to seek your education outside of the traditional school system. The good news is, even the most costly investment courses are usually less than what you'd pay to attend a big-name university. 

So before you - or your child - spend big bucks for the best college education money can buy, know your expectations and understand how the particular education you've chosen will help you achieve your desired results.

Original publish date: June 29, 2010