Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Matter of Degree

Asked a socially relevant chronicle:
"Is a college degree economical?
Well, the lifetime return
On the extra you earn
Is substantial, but not astronomical."

Dr. Goose had occasion to visit Loyola University of Maryland as part of an adult entourage in an orientation program for incoming freshmen. Loyola impressed with many outstanding qualities, beginning with its president, the Rev. Brian Linnane, SJ, a clear-thinking, no-nonsense advocate of cura personalis – "Care of the whole person."

I also had occasion to note that the cost of one year at this fine institution has reached $57,000, as has that of many private universities. While listening to a presentation on financial aid, I did a back-of-the-napkin calculation and found that, in order to yield a 4% return on the four-year investment in education over a 40-year time horizon, a graduate would have to earn $11,000 a year more than they would have with only a high school diploma. Those who strive for an 8% return would have to earn an additional $19,000 a year. Studies show that such incremental earning power is within the reach of the typical college graduate, but probably not those who indulge in "coasting", against which Father Linnane inveighed ominously.

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