College is too Expensive, Except When It’s Not

Where higher education is actually underpriced is in the top-tier schools. That may sound offensive, but price is determined by what people are willing to pay, and the top twenty-five or so schools in the country could charge even more than they do.

That’s from Nicholas Lemann in The New Yorker, who argues that a college education is expensive because we place so much value on it — except for the top colleges, which are actually a bargain because we all want to go to there. Lemann was (is) the dean of my school at Columbia, and I think he’s saying he wished he charged me more money to complete my graduate program. Maybe that’s why I get a letter from the school every month asking me for a donation. Hey, let me pay back my student loans first, and then I’ll give you a nice donation!