Friday, March 16, 2012

One question

This story in the Christian Science Monitor is about young adults living at home with their parents after college. But I can't get past the first line.
After graduating from Brown University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and completing a Fulbright scholarship in Brazil, Cassie Owens was left with a few dollars on her stipend and no job in sight. So, Ms. Owens returned home to her mother in Philadelphia.
The tuition schedule for Brown University from 2006-2009 was:

Brown University - Tuition only
Academic yearTuition


2005-2006$32,264


2006-2007$33,888


2007-2008$35,584


2008-2009$36,928


Total$138,664

That's tuition only - no fees, no room and board.

So the one question is this - under what conditions is it rational for an 18-22 year old person to spend four years of his or her physical and mental prime, and $138,000, and receive, as a return on that expense, a degree in comparative literature?

I'm not going to say that those conditions can't exist, or that they don't in this case, but I bet there are a lot more people doing it for whom it is not a rational decision than there are those for whom it is...

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