December 29, 2013 12:00 AM

Do college degrees really help anyone?

Excerpted from Thursday’s Chicago Tribune: Higher education is one of the more expensive investments many people will ever make. The average cost of a year in college, including tuition, fees, room and board, now runs about $23,000 – enough to buy a new car. Graduates typically leave with $30,000 each in student loan debt. But cost is just one thing that deserves to be considered when young people decide whether and where to go. Another is what they get for their money. That’s harder to measure. A school that offers mediocre instruction or demands too little of students might leave them poorly equipped for the real world even with their diplomas. Most people hope a college education will help them get a good job. But universities have a broader and deeper mission. Reading Shakespeare is valuable even if it doesn’t strengthen your résumé.

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