Newsweek’s numbers are ‘alarmist,’ economist says

Newsweek just published a cover story arguing that college is not worth it for many young people. But there is little evidence to support that claim, the Huffington Post reports. Megan McArdle, a special correspondent for Newsweek, argued in the cover story that for a growing number of young people, college is becoming too expensive and “is less about providing an education than a credential.” Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan, criticized the article Sunday on Twitter. Reached by email, Wolfers noted studies have shown that “each year of study boosts your earnings by 8% on average, per year, for the rest of your life. That’s pretty healthy.” McArdle wrote that the sticker price of a college education has nearly doubled since 1995, but Wolfers noted that after scholarships and financial aid, the “actual price” of higher education “hasn’t been rising anywhere nearly as quickly” as the sticker price of a college education. He added that McArdle’s numbers on student debt are “alarmist” and “the actual numbers are far lower.”

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