UO Trustee Connie Ballmer in the NYT, on why she donated $20M to encourage students to go to college

From a David Leonhardt piece here:

“You hear people say, ‘Well, a four-year degree isn’t needed,’ ” Connie Ballmer, the philanthropist and wife of the former Microsoft C.E.O. Steve Ballmer, recently told me.

“But then if you turn to them and say, ‘What do you want for your child?’ they wouldn’t dream of not having their kid go to a four-year college,” she continued. “They said it’s not needed — but they need it.”

Ballmer is right. The boomlet of skepticism about college comes disproportionately from upper-middle-class people who have the luxury of airing hypothetical concerns about education, without having to worry that their own children will be influenced by them. Yet the misplaced skepticism can do real damage to poor and working-class teenagers who hear it and take it seriously.

The evidence remains overwhelming: College is the single most reliable path to the middle class and beyond. No, it doesn’t guarantee a good life. Nothing does. But earning a good living without a college degree today is difficult.

College graduates earn vastly more and are far more likely to be employed. They live longer, are more likely to be married and are more satisfied on average with their lives. These relationships appear to be at least partly causal, too. If you want more details, you can read some of my previous columns or dig into a long trail of academic studies. …

and,

Department of disagreement. A good example of skepticism about college is an op-ed that ran in The Times this week, called, “College May Not Be Worth It Anymore,” by Ellen Ruppel Shell, a Boston University professor of journalism. I disagree with it, for all the reasons mentioned above. More important, the authors of the research cited in the piece disagree with it.

One of them, Tim Bartik, an economist at the Upjohn Institute, wrote on Twitter: “It draws the wrong conclusions from our work, and omits some important findings.” He wrote a series of tweets with further explanation.

The research by Bartik and his colleague Brad Hershbein finds huge returns on four-year college degrees for all students, including those from lower-income families. For a typical student, a degree is worth about $500,000.

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21 Responses to UO Trustee Connie Ballmer in the NYT, on why she donated $20M to encourage students to go to college

  1. Charlie says:

    Uh, no. This is why they want more people in college.

    They Pledged Your Tuition-The Council of UC Faculty Associations.
    cucfa.org/news/tuition_bonds.php

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  2. Dog says:

    This is worth reading

    http://www.talk40.com/single-post/2018/01/23/High-College-Costs-Driven-By-Deceptive-Accounting-Practices

    The suggestion is made that the true cost of undergraduate education is being systematically over estimated –> this of course would also drive tuition prices higher.

    By the way, there are lots of studies on this: Just Google on
    “Tuition Driven Universities:

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  3. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Good for her! Of course, not everyone should go to 4-year college. That is kind of a straw man. But I get tired of the loudmouth phonies who prescribe welding school (actually, a form of postsecondary education) for other people and college for their own kids, preferably the Ivy League.

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    • Dog says:

      don’t insult welding – especially underwater – its an honorable profession populated by some of the best people I have known – it also pays well …

      but then again, I am well known as a loudmouth dog ( who doesn’t particularly like ponies)

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      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        My uncle did a good deal of welding and had the injury to show for it.

        Note that I grouped welding with postsecondary education — because during the recession, there was a welding craze including Oregon e.g. at LCC. A whole lot of people ended up dropping out and defaulting on their loans.

        The pay really isn’t that great, unless you are in a hot market.

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        • uomatters says:

          I had to drop welding at Montana State. Oxy-Acetylene is really fun but hot metal kept popping up into my face. Flux-core arc is easier but my welds are ugly. I think I’ll stick with economics.

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    • Charlie says:

      Is the trend in college loan defaults increasing or decreasing?

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      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        See my remarks above about LCC and welding student defaults.

        I would advise anyone to be careful about college loans.

        Maybe too bad that society made a decision to fund medicaid and welfare at the expense of subsidies for higher education.

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        • Thedude says:

          I believe you mean mass incarceration. And property limits for home owners.

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        • Charlie says:

          While it’s good that people be careful regarding student loans, that didn’t answer the question as to default trends. I’ll do that, they’re increasing. Substantially.

          The Looming Student Loan Default Crisis Is Worse Than We Thought.
          Brookings Institution-research

          Student Debt Payback Far Worse Than Believed. WSJ

          The second article is behind a paywall, so I’ll give you the skinny. The Dept. of Education lied, er, had a glitch in their methodology of calculating student loan default rates. What that means is that the student loans are defaulting at rates worse than previously stated.

          Point is, it’s far more than being careful. The efficacy of a degree has to be challenged as loans are no longer being serviced. The happy talk about c

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          • Anonymous says:

            You can’t talk about “college for all” or student loan defaults without talking about the role of for-profit colleges: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/09/the-failure-of-for-profit-colleges/405301/

            Or how the current administration is trying to undo regulation and enforcement in that sector.

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            • Charlie says:

              Are you familiar with the New York Attorney Genetal’s investigation of student loan fraud? The results of the investigation were released in 2007…..

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            • uomatters says:

              Please include a link and summary.

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            • Charlie says:

              Attorney General Cuomo Announces Settlement With Sallie Mae Over Its Student Loan Practices. 4/11/0
              New York(.gov)>ag>press-release

              Cuomo Expands Student Loan Probe. Reuters 10/11/07
              Reuters>article-us-student-loan

              The NYAG’s office began receiving citizen complaints that non-profit unis were ripping off their students via the financial aid departments. Among the findings were unis receiving kickbacks for directing students to certain loan originators. Two of the unis were Johns Hopkins and Columbia.

              Point is, the bulk of the offending institutions were non-profits. The bulk of the $1.5 trillion in loan debt is for non-profit tuition. Non-profits are the problem, not the for profits..

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            • uomatters says:

              https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/04/05/stock

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            • Charlie says:

              Further:
              In June/September 2007, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) released reports on its own investigation into marketing practices be FFEL lenders. These reports confirmed what the New York investigation had uncovered, as well as much more. The reports clearly showed that not only were Student Loan companies providing compensation to universities in the expectation that they would secure positions on the schools’ preferred lender lists, they were also paying financial aid administrators directly. Some admins actually held stock in the same lending companies that were on their institutions’ preferred lender list.

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  4. Charlie says:

    Sorry, glitch. The happy talk about the necessity of college is worthless if those that should no better refuse to address that issue….

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