College (Un)Affordability

A bachelor’s degree costs as much as a home, remote work attitudes shift post-pandemic, and MIT studies the best way to eat an Oreo cookie.

Higher education is struggling in more ways than one, but a complete lack of affordability for average families stands out as the biggest problem. As enrollment rates slip and costs continue to escalate to increasingly unreasonable heights, public attitudes on the value of a 4 year college degree are shifting.

Read more about this in the Deep Dive Section of this Newsletter.

In the News

College UnAffordability

College is Just Not Affordable: The cost of an Ivy League education soars to about $90,000. (Bloomberg)

  • That’s right. College now officially costs more than the median cost of a house over four years. (Motley Fool)

It’s Not Just the Ivy League: For a private school education, the average cost is $54,501. When loss of income and the overall cost after interest, the long-run costs can exceed $500,000. (Education Data Initiative)

Read more on this below:

The Status of Remote Work

Remote Work Data: Recent survey data compared the responses of remote employees in January 2022 to responses from October of 2020. (Pew Research

Most survey respondents who prefer to work-from-home by choice cite personal preference as their top reason.

  • 76% of remote workers say that they work from home because of personal preference, compared to 60% previously. Only 42% express concern about catching Covid-19, compared to 57% previously. 
  • Workers who are not working from home by choice cite personal preference (79%) and productivity (77%) as the main reasons.
  • 17% say their decision to relocate where they live is the reason they work from home.

One last number that stood out is the 72% of remote workers who say that their choice has not affected their ability to advance in their jobs.

Perhaps these folks are already advanced in their careers. Whether or not they were was unfortunately not measured. Evidence has recently suggested that work from home carries significant challenges from social isolation to complications with career growth.

Back to Square One: The prevalence of remote work is back on par with the pre-pandemic rate. (Wall Street Journal)

Other News

Appreciation for American values are in decline and the level of appreciation is connected to age and political affiliation. (Wall Street Journal)

Langston University has cleared $4.5 million in student loan debt balances for selected students. (ABC News)

Starbucks new CEO Laxman Narasimhan plans to work a regular half day shift at a Starbucks location. (LinkedIn News

A Deeper Dive – College Unaffordability

The website Big Future suggests that prospective students and their parents “think beyond the cost.” But one must wonder… How?! When a 4 year college degree costs as much as a home, ignoring these earth-shattering, life-altering costs could lead to financial ruin.

I wrote about the need to critically examine the often false and misleading claims that colleges make on my blog previously. May the buyer please beware.

Do we tell people who are suffering from medical debt to “ignore the cost?”

Do we tell people whose incomes have remained stagnant in the midst of historically high inflation to “ignore the cost?”

Do we tell people who go into debt because of predatory payday lenders to “ignore the cost?”

College unaffordability

None of these approaches would go over well. However, with higher education, most people shy away from applying the same harsh criticism that they have for payday lenders to higher education. Why? Because many people still believe that a degree (any degree) is a ticket to the middle class. We are led to believe that a degree in hand transforms lives.

The reality is that sometimes this is true and sometimes it absolutely is not.

Is it Worth It?

Some argue that a degree is a worthwhile investment in the long run. Evidence suggests that this is not always true. One comprehensive study showed that some programs leave students worse off, while others lead to millions in additional lifetime earnings. (FreeOpp

This all begs the question, is college worth it anymore? For the first time ever, a majority of Americans (56%) say “no.” (Wall Street Journal/NORC

Sometimes college is worth the investment but it depends on many factors, namely the subject of study, the student’s academic ability, and the cost. 

What I’m Reading

What I Believe’ – Bertrand Russell

Bertrand was a popular secular thinker in an era where society shunned such ideology. Readers may be aware that Russell was banned from teaching at New York City College. ( In this 1925 essay, Russell directs criticism toward the sanctimonious nature of organized religion.

Now that we see declining rates of religious affiliation, the pendulum seems to have gone in the other direction. As I listen to Russell’s criticism, it seems that much of it could be applied to the more dominant secular ideology of today.

Russell describes what he calls “the good life” and I noticed a lot of crossover with what religion teaches. Perhaps people in political power just tend to abuse it, whether secular or religious.

Quote of the Week

“Just like a low resting heart rate is the byproduct of intense exercise, low anxiety is the byproduct of intense self-examination.”

— Naval Ravikant

Articles of the Week

Here are 10 shockingly useful free websites that are available for your consumption. (Jerry Keszka – Medium)

Companies must learn from their mistakes. (Seth Godin Blog)

Tips to negotiate a higher salary. (@ConversationUS – Medium)

Spreadsheets just ‘do it’ better. Get some! (Len Penzo & Deep Dive Careers)

From Deep Dive Careers: Will the Real Leaders Please Stand Up

The best leaders do not just lead. They also know when and who to follow.

Other Fun Stuff

MIT is laser-focused on what is arguably the ABSOLUTELY MOST IMPORTANT issue of our time. They recently tested 1,000 Oreos to determine how best to eat them. (UK Independent – via Yahoo News)

Want an electric vehicle? You are not alone. (Fidelity)

Dad Joke of the Week

Dada says: 

~ “I’ve heard that balloons are really scared of music. Especially pop music.” ~ 

Ryan's Weekly Wave

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