Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Worse off than our parents, sez Harvard prof

I was part of a most illuminating policy panel on "does college cost too much?" at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday. It is normally maligned (by me) as a conservative thinktank but I was really impressed with the other presenters and the audience. The presentation was on C-SPAN live and I got about a dozen nice e-mails from people, which probably represents 1/5 of the audience. You can read the coverage here:

As tuition prices have skyrocketed since the 1970s, the inflation adjusted average earnings of a graduate from a four-year institution have stayed about the same, according to Susan Dynarski, associate professor of public policy at Harvard University and research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Compared to 30 years ago, students are “looking at level earnings, but increasing debt,” she says, so “from the perspective of their parents’s generation, they’re actually worse off.”
The other presenter was Martha Lamkin of the Lumina Foundation the research of which I drew on in the book.
UPDATE: BTW, a bit of fact-checking; the reporter said I said that the US spends more than any other country on higher ed as a % of GDP. Actually I said, as the OECD reported last fall, that the US spends double the OECD average at the postsecondary level, or $20,545 per student.

1 comment:

John Furie Zacharias said...

C-Span2 has been re-airing the AEI panel discussion. So, having the U.S. Congress out on vacation has produced yet another benefit for everyone.

I think you did a great job. Your personal anecdotes seemed more informative and helpful for me to understand the topic than some of the dry policy data presented by the other panelists.