Economics on the small scale

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Get your University Credentials here

Fred Clark has an interesting Micro-economic observation about our Educational System:
Which brings us [...] to the most revealing fact about American higher education: the cost of auditing a class. It varies slightly from school to school, but the general rule of thumb is that the cost of auditing a class is about a third the cost of taking that class for credit. This tells you everything you need to know about how these schools perceive what it is they're selling. You can learn everything they have to teach for 1/3 the price because education isn't the main product. The main product is credit. That's what you're paying for when you go to college.

This shouldn't be a world-altering revelation to most people who have come into contact with our Educational System, though the game seems to be to pretend otherwise.

Still, if you were to graph the change over time in the cost of auditing a college education versus the cost of 'earning' that degree (both adjusted for inflation), you might be able to see whether the ever-increasing cost of a sheepskin is due to an increase in the cost of education, or due to the cost of burnishing universities' own credentials.


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