‘Will College Pay Off?’ A Surprising Cost-benefit Analysis

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In this piece

The author discusses various facets of whether college is worthwhile. Prof. Peter Cappelli makes this case in his book "Can College Pay Off?" A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You Will Ever Make" in a cool, impartial tone, including explanations and probabilities to back up his point of view on the matter. Clearly, one of the current problems confronting people in many countries is a lack of jobs. Students aim to assess the high-paying work as well as the marketability of the same before beginning some course. As a result, the author provides a pragmatic view that what is currently marketable could become outdated in the coming years. Therefore, this paper provides an in-depth analysis of the sentiments entailed in the book, and whether they are logical.

The matter in discussion

Here is whether or not the costly expenditure spent when a student is attending college will eventually pay off eventually. This is presented regarding whether the student will graduate in time and factors such as the different ways in which employers view them from their high school graduate counterparts, and also if they will graduate in the time specified (4 years). This is as a result, as the professor argues, that different schools have different rates of completion percentage, with private colleges having an upper hand compared to their public counterparts.

The professor's arguments

The professor’s arguments are presented in a form that does not just give statements but also accompanied with evidence from research and data obtained over time. For instance he argues that there is no guarantee that if a student pursues a major now, by the time they graduate it may not be the case "petroleum engineering was not considered the hottest job in the US for the last ten years, but it is the highest paying job at the moment, and this might not be the case by the time the student graduates" (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania., 2015).

The arguments are persuasive

The arguments are persuasive, in that he reports in a way that is not biased in any way. For instance, he says that there is no guarantee that some specific colleges will guarantee a student’s slot in the job market (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania., 2015), and that the data collected cannot be depended on to reach to this conclusion. Colleges report this kind of data in very different ways that are not dependable.

It can also be seen from the angles

It can also be seen from the angles that the professor tackles the questions presented to him by the interviewer that he has data from research, and that he is not making unwarranted conclusions about the matters being addressed. This is seen clearly at points where the data collected cannot be dependable to be used to conclude a discussion he leaves the question open. An example is an issue of whether or not college graduates are better earners than high school graduates when it comes to the job market. He responds with a reference to the 1960s and 1970s (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania., 2015) situation where college graduates did not earn more than their high school counterparts, and that it is not guaranteed that the present state where college graduates are making more money will persist.

The Professor gives supportive evidence

The Professor gives supportive evidence from research in every answer in his arguments, and the fact that he has no exact position in the case gives assurance of the credibility in his statements. But one important aspect coming out is the fact that education is important and should be invested in regardless of the dynamics involved.


Overall, from the argument presented in this scope, it is evident that there are a lot of dynamics involved in the process of taking kids to school and college to be specific. The question of whether or not the process will pay off has a lot of uncertainties, and that the factors to be considered are many which need to be looked at carefully.

Works Cited

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. (2015). ‘Will College Pay Off?’ A Surprising Cost-benefit Analysis. Retrieved from Wharton University of Pennsylvania: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/will-college-pay-off-a-surprising-cost-benefit-analysisision-youll-ever-make/

January 18, 2023

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