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November 28, 2012

"Meet the High Priest of Runaway College Inflation"

This is the guy to blame, former president of my alma mater. 


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I don't see anything wrong with what Trachtenberg did. Reading the comments to the article you'd think he was the devil incarnate. What Trachtenberg did is differentiate himself from other schools by offering amenities that students wanted and parents wanted their kids to have in college.

The trade off for that luxury is it is more expensive. This is not surprising, nor immoral, that this should occur. It happens in every single market I can think of. You can get a new car for less than $10,000 or spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions. The quality of these cars doesn't vary that much, but amenities, as well as customer service does.

I drive a Toyota Matrix. It will last as long, if not longer than any of the really expensive cars. It goes as fast as you'd want it to go on a highway. It doesn't to 0-60 that fast, though. It can get sorta noisy at high speeds. It doesn't have heated seats, mp3 hook ups, powered mirrors or seats, etc. But it gets the job done.

Similarly, you get spend half a million dollars to attend one of these top luxury schools or you can go to the local state school, where you'll get an equally good education. I went to a community college right out of high school, the military, then UT, Austin for undergrad, then UofMaryland, College Park for grad school. I think total cost for my education, in today's dollars, is around $30,000-$35,000. I prioritized education over luxury, but there is nothing wrong with prioritizing luxury to be equal to or over education, either. People have different preferences. This is NOT evil. Catering to differing preferences is NOT evil.

I see nothing wrong with people paying half a million dollars for their education. It's their money and life. They know the costs. Let them spend their money and hock their future earnings to have a luxurious college career. If it gets them in trouble financially, it's their burden. If not, good for them for enjoying the good life.

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