*The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us*

That is the new book by Paul Tough, I read it through in one sitting.  The back cover offers an appropriate introduction to the work:

Does college work?  Does it provide real opportunity for young people who want to improve themselves and their prospects?  Or is it simply a rigged game designed to protect the elites who have power and exclude everyone else?

That may sound a little overwrought, but this book actually delivers a quality product on those questions.  In addition to the well-selected anecdotes, Tough also engages seriously with the research of Raj Chetty, Caroline Hoxby, and others.  He is also willing to report politically incorrect truths (for instance the percentage of black attendees at top colleges who are from Africa or the Caribbean) without gloating about it or slanting the evidence, as is so commonly done.

Here is one short zinger to savor:

At the University of Virginia, only 13 percent of undergraduates are eligible for Pell grants — a lower rate than at Princeton University or Trinity College.  At the University of Michigan, the figure is 16 percent.  At the University of Alabama, the flagship public institution of one of the poorest states in the nation, the median family income for undergraduates is higher than at Bryn Mawr College.

Definitely recommended.


"At the University of Alabama, the flagship public institution of one of the poorest states in the nation, the median family income for undergraduates is higher than at Bryn Mawr College."

I'm always a little suspicious when somebody leaves out the actual number. However, the University is number 8th in the country (NY Times list) for average household income of parents.


That being said, the cost doesn't look particularly high.

Average annual cost: $22K


It's a tad tuition higher than the California UC system. And US News ranks it a bit lower.

U of Alabama
Tuition in state: $10,700
Total cost: $20,600

U of Cal
Tuition in state: $13,500
Total cost: $30,000

Come again?


Average annual cost: $16K


Average annual cost: $14K


Average annual cost: $15K

For tuition.

If you went to Berkeley you’d have caught that.

Play again?

He went to University of Alabama.

What about housing costs? It isn't cheap to live in Westwood or even Culver City.

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The average cost out of state is $60,000.

With a weighted average, that’s 33% of the student body, it’s impossible that the cost is that low unless California is paying students $7,000 a year.

You’re an idiot.

Are we supposed to be surprised by the income distribution at private vs public institutions? High tuition + financial aid at private colleges makes them very cheap for the poor, but prices out the middle class.


Right but I think only people who pay close attention to higher education are aware of that. The average American almost certainly associates public universities with lower incomes compared to private ones.

And it's more complex than a simple question of incomes at public vs private universities.

Highly selective private universities tend to have students from higher income families, but can and usually do look for at least some students from lower incomes, who receive generous financial aid (including no student loans) if they can get into an elite, well-endowed school.

Lower-ranked private schools will usually have lower-income students but not always, sometimes their financial bread-and-butter is full-pay or near full-pay students who weren't good enough to get accepted into a top tier school but are willing and able to pay near full-price at a second tier school.

USC used to (and maybe still is) called the "University of Spoiled Children": rich kids not good enough for the Ivy League or Stanford or for that matter Berkeley or UCLA.

But that brings us to the complexity of public universities. Tough and Tyler are correct that several flagship publics have notably high average incomes and notably low percentages of Pell grant recipients.

But Berkeley and UCLA are the two major exceptions to that, they're outliers in terms of being flagship (or near-flagship in UCLA's case) universities with much higher Pell grant percentages than other flagships have.

There was a time when contrary to the stereotypes, UCLA students came from families with higher average incomes than those of USC students. But I'm not sure if that's true now; UCLA does have a high percentage (for an elite public) of Pell students, and USC has markedly increased the quality of its students over the past 20 years -- and maybe increased its average income level? Even looking at just these two universities, it's not easy to predict the relationship between income and public-vs-private control.

And when you look at non-flagship public universities again you tend to see more low-income students.

The last full set of statistics that I saw were from over a decade ago, but at that time the family incomes at colleges and universities in California were like this: Univ of California > private colleges & universities > Calif State Univ. Community colleges were probably lower still.

If we were to look at the grand totals and compare incomes at public vs private schools in California, I'm not sure what we'd find. Especially once we add in the community colleges (IIRC there are 106 of them in CA) -- and on the private side, add in the for-profit colleges and universities.

Hmm, my information about Berkeley seems to be obsolete. This new study of public flagship universities lists Berkeley as above average in access, but not among the top universities access-wise.

Plus, when I think of flagships schools, especially in the south, I don't think of a working class kid taking 9 credits, living at home, and waiting table 30 hours a week. I think of a preppy frat boy/sorority girl whose parents are upper middle class to well off professionals. In the office I work in, only the children of the two richest suburban school districts (which total well under than 10% of the metro population) have kids that go to either the flagship schools or go away for school (public or private) in any great number. The others, by in large, go to community college, the local state school, with a few at local private schools.

Wealthy liberal elite support high ttaxes to subsidize public universities which produce lots of skilled workers for them to employ at high wages to get even richer, and thus produce high income workers to pay the high taxes that subsidize the universities, not to mention incubate innovators the wealthy liberal eliites can take big sttakes in and in 5-10 years sell shares to high income workers putting money in 401Ks.

Alabama elites wants only kids of wealthy conservatives who will work at much lower wages than in leftist California, thus holding living costs down, and preventing consumers from having money to buy new innovative products. Ie, no one will be able to afford a hot Tesla that performs better than the high profit gas guzzlers so no one will know how poorly performing conservative products are.

Alabama will train workers for foriegn companies as long as the workers are prohibited from forming unions so they get higher incomes and thus create envy among other workers by buying cool innovative products produced in leftist liberal elite California cities.

10+ years now of your contributions here and they could all have been just cut/paste from previous posts.

Now that is commitment to the bit.

I applaud you good sir.

After reading Steve Sailer’s evisceration of a Tough piece this morning, one might have expected Cowen fawning over Tough’s establishment pieties in the afternoon. Sickening, really. https://www.unz.com/isteve/occams-butterknife-2/

I agree with you. Another good evisceration is https://lionoftheblogosphere.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/truth-about-college-admissions-and-fake-news-in-the-ny-times/ . That said, admissions officer would not talk to Steve Sailer if they knew who we was. A politically correct NYT writer can get them to talk, and you can find some information beneath the PC blather.

I glanced at Tough's NY Times piece and was not impressed. Sailer's piece though is a disaster, instead of trying to deal with the topic he merely slings insults at Tough, Perez, and pro-diversity people in general.

(IOW, typical of a lot of comments here at MR. But notably not typical of Sailer's comments here, which tend to be informative or make points worth thinking about. Maybe his comments are of higher quality than his articles?)

But I'm only half-convinced by Tyler's review that Tough's book is worth reading. It speaks well for the book that he's looking at issues including those raised by Chetty and Hoxby and the distinction between Blacks who immigrated to the US versus those whose families have been in America for generations.

But if I do read the book my guess is that I'll half agree and half disagree with it, and won't have learned much that I don't already know about higher education and won't have changed my mind much. I base that from looking at his NY Times piece, but Tyler does have me reconsidering.

I too thought Sailer's piece was of poor quality. Generally speaking the occasional article on his site has been of better quality, though perhaps not as good as is comments on MR usually are.

I usually like Sailer's work and agree this piece is subpar. But, as usual, his main point is correct: colleges admit people who can't do the work and then hire them to work in college administration so they don't look like they are turning out minority and disadvantaged graduates who are unemployable. That's why, in universities where the professors are very good, the administrative rank and file is often spectacularly unimpressive.

UVA is a special case: state law requires that 2/3 of undergraduate admissions be Virginia residents. That means UVA, a national school with a very large number of applications from a cross section of very good students from across the country, does not have the flexibility to admit the very best applicants, which likely skews those admitted to higher incomes. Every wealthy or politicially connected parent in Virginia wants her children to be admitted to UVA. UVA is stuck with this even though it receives a very small percentage of funding from the state.

Is the 2/3 requirement particularly restrictive, compared to other top public schools like Michigan, North Carolina, Berkeley, UCLA?

Michigan is much closer to 50:50 in-state vs out-of-state undergrads. But this pushes the median family income up, not down (the out-of-state students pay a lot higher tuition and are, on average, from wealthier families). At this point, according to the NY Times, Michigan has the highest median family income for any public university (by a pretty wide margin). And its percentage of students from the top 1% is almost double the next closest public university.


Thanks, I should have searched rather than just assumed. My recollection (from the 90s) was that Michigan was roughly 2/3 in-state and the 1/3 non-resident was higher most others, and way higher than some (UNC specifically). It was way harder for students to from Michigan to get into UNC than Michigan, at the time.

UCLA fall of ‘18 entering freshman class was 70% in state, 20% out of state and 10% foreign.

And 7% of its funding comes from the state.

I went to Berkeley from a small farming town with a very bad high school academically. I applied to UC ( You ranked your top three choices ), Harvard, and Stanford, getting in only to UC. My actual college counselor discouraged me from applying to big name colleges, and, it being expensive to apply, I kept the list short. I knew I could go to the community college, or Fresno State ( Years later, I found out that the Fresno State English department was famous, being led by Philip Levine. One of those crappy colleges Thiel was talking about. ) Plus, I had a few great teachers who encouraged me to apply. Only my father had gone to college on both sides of my family, and he went to a small Catholic College to get a business degree after community college. My grandparents had saved up the money for him to go. He was born without arms.

My freshman year was hellish, but I pulled through with encouragement from a few friends who were both seniors in my dorm. I had no idea I was that far behind the average student, and remember asking one professor who Proust was, for example. I can't imagine not having gone to college, although I can imagine going to a different college, even the community college. Life is so strange and unexpected. The professor who took me on and mentored me was John Searle. It was tough finding out how he treated female students, but absolutely necessary he be held accountable for it. Finally, my brother went to MIT on ROTC for college and has a doctorate. Discouraging people from going to college is shocking to me, although individual people might make a different choice.

For such a ‘crappy college’ the Fresno State English department (and the ‘shitty’ San Joaquin valley culture surrounding it) has been the home of 2 U.S. poet laureates (Levine and Juan Phillipe Herrera) as well as a number of other important U.S. poets (Larry Levis, David St. John, Gary Soto, Lawson Indada). But I doubt Thiel has ever read a line of poetry.

I went to Fresno State as a senior in high school and then one more year. The best teacher I ever had was at Fresno State in the English dep’t. And I mean elementary school, high school, UCLA, anywhere. His name was Chittick. We read the Brothers Karamazov and I can still remember his explanation of the Grand Inquisitor chapter.

And, just as an aside, Armen Alchian started at Fresno State before going on to Stanford.

What do estimate the percentage of Cal-Berkeley freshmen who know who Proust is? I'm guessing it's not that high.

I just asked 70 undergraduates who the Normans were.

1 said “did you say Normals?” 1 said “do you mean Norman Bates?” And 1 said “uh connected to, uh, the Battle of 1066?”

Not first years either.

Then maybe they should go to college. It's worth a shot.

"Does college work?" It did for me. I had a wonderful time as an undergraduate. Later I taught some clever undergraduates and worked with some excellent research students and colleagues. But I doubt that my experience is any sort of guide to the fallen world of the universities these days. Dissolution of the Monasteries.

I suspect college worked much better when 10-25% of the population went. On average the student was a little smarter, so there was less remedial teaching and a quicker pace. Also, there wasn't as much pressure for everyone to go, so a smart kid who didn't really like school work wasn't under as much pressure to go.

Now that we're pushing the percentages up to 50% of the population college has to become much more like an extension of high school.

Yeah, to me that is the more interesting, important, and tougher question than what Tough's book seems to be addressing (again, I have not read the book so this is based on his NY Times essay and what people are saying about the book): it's not so much a question of "does college work?" but "who should it work for?". I.e. who should go to college. And what kind of college (2-year vs 4-year, vocational vs pre-professional vs liberal arts, etc.).

E.g. does Tough's book address Caplan's critique of education? Even if it does not (and I think Caplan went far off the rails with his railing about the inherent uselessness of education), there is an important and relevant question of how many people should go to college.

If the 10-25% figure that you cite is for four-year colleges only, that might be somewhat close to the optimal figure. But there are a lot of people, considerably more than 25%, who ought to -- and do! -- go to college, and not because the nanny state is pushing them but because they rationally recognize that they should get more education and training. But these non-25 percenters aren't attending Harvard or UCLA, they're going to their local community college or urban campus or an online school or even a for-profit school and getting training in ... whatever. Maybe they do need some remedial math. Maybe they're training to be a beautician or car mechanic. Or learning basic bookkeeping. Or, if they're really wise and need it, to improve their ability to write and to read critically.

That's laudable and it's why more than 25% of Americans should and do go to college. But not everyone -- and quite possibly, not even 50% of Americans -- should attend a four-year college and get a bachelors degree.

Or another way to put it: well over half of Americans now attend college. So we're already over the 50% figure that you propose. But about 1/3 of those students are attending 2-year colleges.

Personally I think over half of Americans should go to college, both for their own private benefit and the betterment of American society. But there is indeed an argument to be made that more of them could or should attend 2-year instead of 4-year colleges, which might leave us not that far from the 25% figure that you cite.

+1, yes I agree.

Coincidentally, the NSF's National Science Board just released a report calling for more technical training (mechanics, electricians, welders, etc.) -- and saying that too many students are being nudged toward bachelors degrees instead of those sorts of skilled technical training.

FWIW, currently around 45% of H.S. graduates enroll immediately in a 4-year college or university. Another ~22% enroll in a 2-year or community college.


"Does college work?"

Feel like the answer is "yes", but with the caveat "but probably not often as you think it does."

This NYT article has some interesting data: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/18/upshot/some-colleges-have-more-students-from-the-top-1-percent-than-the-bottom-60.html

About 87% of top 0.1% kids attend universities that are in the "selective" category or higher, vs. roughly 12% of kids in the bottom 20%.

But that's still 12%; it's not 0%. Assuming they graduate (which, granted, the do so at lower rates than non-poor kids), their future prospects are almost surely *much* better than their parent's.

As an aside, to riff on the UVA & Michigan Pell stats, there are at least a few near-to-the-top public universities that have significantly more:

UCLA: 33.5%
Florida: 30.1%
Illinois: 29.5%
Texas: 27.7%
Wisconsin: 27.3%
Ohio State: 27.1%
Washington: 26.8%

According to the latest US News rankings, the ten top public universities are: UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, UVA, GT, UNC, Cal-Santa Barbara, UF, Cal-Irvine, and Cal-San Diego.

As for the Univ. of Alabama, it may have a student body from relatively affluent families, but US News ranks the school at # 72 (tied with several other well-known southern or near southern schools).

"(tied with several other well-known southern or near southern schools)."

You do realize that 4 of the 10 on your list are in the SouthEast? And that the list has 146 schools on it. So, the University of Alabama is pretty close to the middle of the pack.

Rigged, but not in the way Paul Tough thinks it is. The corrupt institutions stack on preferences in the name of personality and demographic adjustments aka affirmative action.

From Harvard's own Institutional Research Office:

Only using academics, Asian students have a 17.35% admit rate to Harvard. This drops to 12.66% with legacy and athlete, 10.48% with extracurricular and personal, and 7.24% with demographics.

slide 12

Looking at the % admissions boost for legacy and athlete is very revealing. Colleges continue to stack the deck with the affirmative action game and say "we aren't changing standards or giving preferences to anyone or discriminating against whites or Asians"

Evidence continues to stack up that it is much harder to get accepted into colleges when you attend a well-off high school. Schools already do plenty of work in recruiting non-"elite" students, possibly so much that they are passing over hidden talent.

"Indeed, an analysis of UCLA admissions rates in the four years following Prop. 209 — even before comprehensive review — found that going to a school with a high-achieving student body decreased one’s admissions chances sevenfold."


"UCLA applicants also get credit for attending high schools that fare poorly on standardized tests and offer few advanced-placement courses. Belmont and South Gate fit that category. If students attend such a school and take an outreach program, UCLA gives them seven of the eight points they need to qualify as "exceptionally challenged.

Paradoxically, attending a low-performing high school can also help in the academic assessment. Several campuses measure applicants against others from the same high school, not against the whole universe of applicants.

At the Davis campus, a combination of outreach and attending a low-ranked high school counts for 1,000 points toward 7,000 needed for admission. That's equivalent to the difference between a 3.0 and 4.0 grade-point average. Signing up for an "educational opportunity program" adds 500 more points."

"Latino legislative leader Marco Antonio Firebaugh, a force behind adoption of the new system, agrees: "We found that using poverty yields a lot of poor white kids and poor Asian kids," he says. The formulas UCLA and other campuses chose instead give hefty boosts to the students -- predominantly Hispanic and African-American -- who attend low-performing high schools targeted by university outreach programs."

It would be difficult, but it might be interesting to see how Asians and whites compare *among the set of Harvard graduates* after adjusting for "academic" credentials. That is, would changing the admissions criteria such that Asians with better grades/scores are admitted in place of whites with lesser grades/scores but better "other stuff" actually result in Harvard grads achieving more of the sorts of things Harvard wants to see its graduates achieve. Federal judges, CEOs, Rhodes scholars, National Academy members, etc.

It may be that the non-grades/scores stuff actually has some predictive power w.r.t. these things.

Think of this way: the whites with plus "other stuff" were willing to do "what it takes" to get into Harvard, whereas the Asians with great grades/scores did not. Either they failed to understand how the system works, or they were unwilling (or incapable) of gaming it. "Ability and willingness to game admissions" may bode well for someone's ability to achieve certain things after graduation.

Sure. If “other stuff” means “have a family with connections and money.”

But then we should drop the pretense and go back to explicitly having the Ivies as finishing school for the white aristocracy’s sons.

Remember, the entirety of the discrepancy is the admissions committee putting their woke thumbs on the scale.

There was no discrepancy in extracurriculars.

There was no discrepancy in personality score gleaned from interviews from their own alumni.

It was superimposed at the end, while disregarding their own alumni’s interview reports.

Anyone who defends this isn’t making the oft reported “dog whistle” we read about on Vox while vigorously nodding our heads and enjoying our self satisfied moral superiority. This isn’t even Dick the Butcher complaining about illegal immigration and border enforcement.

This is a defense of literally refusing a young adult membership into a supposedly merit based university based solely on the color of their skin. Literally the color of their skin is the defining attribute of their application.

Once upon a time liberals called that racism. Unbelievable how low liberals have fallen. The anti-free speech pro-racism party wasn’t supposed to be the Democrats.

By "other stuff" I meant extracurriculars. Volunteering, sports, musicianship, etc. Things the applicant arguably has some control over, as opposed to simply being born to wealthy/connected parents.

And if you aren’t a special needs child or literally mentally retarded you would know that’s irrelevant to my point. But thanks.

Asians scored higher in extracurriculars. And volunteering. And musicianship. And sports.

And still they chose the non-Asian kid. You’re the equivalent of a 1850 slave owner. Look dude. You view Asians as nonhumans. You’re literally the same as an SS officer gassing Jews.

You have the opportunity to view ASIANS as humans. That’s all they want. Humanity. Equality.

"You view Asians as nonhumans."

I really don't.

Only kids with money get to do extracurriculars. Poor kids work or watch their younger siblings.

Asians tend not to become CEOs, judges, law partners, or move into positions of influence at the rate of Whites. Harvard is within their rights to select for the candidates that fit their vision. How many Asian Supreme Court justices are there? How many Asian real estate tycoons are even on the level of Jared Kushner? None.

Yeah, Asian applicants are even better at that than getting good grades and scores. People have tried using extracurriculars for a more "holistic" admissions process and it just gives Asian applicants an even bigger advantage

UCLA and Berkeley have rigged their admissions systems to get around the 1996 Proposition 209 ban on affirmative action. Colleges that can explicitly use racial preferences tend to favor black and Latino students from rigorous high schools, who tend to be fairly affluent. But UCLA can't do that so it takes in a lot of students from bad high schools to up its black and Latino numbers.

Then, it takes in a lot of community college transfers, as juniors to replace the many freshman admits who have flunked out. Southern California's large and affluent Armenian population often uses this 2 and 2 route to a UCLA degree.

At UCLA I staged a production of the Dialogue of the Carmelites which was received poorly, somewhere we went Our Town/Canterbury Tale when it was meant to be avante garde. It was too floral, the contralto opined, the tenor had a pronounced aversion to the nuns. The nuns found out too much.

UCLA has done such a good job of rigging admissions for black students that they make up 3% of the student body. And if you took out scholarship athletes, it’s probably half of that.

They’ve rigged Latino admissions so well that 22% of students are Hispanic whereas California is 38% Hispanic.

If that’s rigging admissions, they’re doing a terrible job of it.

I thank Brazil's leader President Captain Bolsonaro for his educational reforms. May he rule for ten thousand years, ten thousand years, ten thousand of ten thousand years.

Anyone have a link on the percentage of back students at top universities who are from Africa or the Caribbean? I had not known of this.


Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier of Harvard started to make a stink in early 2004 over how few of affirmative action spots at Harvard were going to people who weren't descendants of American slaves. But the rise of of Obama, a classic example of this, a few months later made point this out politically inconvenient to the Democrats.

"Anyone have a link on the percentage of back students at top universities who are from Africa or the Caribbean?”

I’ve read that it’s about 50 percent at Harvard. As with the percentage of Jews, there is no official or reliable source of data on this, and no precise definition of who falls into which category, so you end up with professors or students making guestimates.

I' m going to read the book, but my point was about going to college, not where or how but why. If you want to understand how crazy this all is, when I didn't get into Harvard or Stanford, a girl in my class came up and claimed to be shocked. When I asked why, she said that I was the smartest kid in school and Mexican. When I told her I wasn't Mexican, although at least half of my friends were, she was again shocked. "Do you know that everybody thinks you are? Now, I had no problem being thought to be of Mexican descent or about not getting into a couple of my choices, and was personally fine with Affirmative Action of some kind.. I was just happy to go to college. I went on with my life. But I had a big advantage in living my life...I had arms.

Again ...

Wish I had gotten in this discussion earlier. The first comment suggests that we should not be surprised by the income distribution at private vs public institutions. However, that comment overlooks the common practice of "needs blind" admissions at private institutions. At Yale, an equivalent of 1/3 of the students are attending for free. The endowment and the nominally high tuition are used to offset costs to allow for students without those resources to attend.

I will read the book, but my interest was about why going to college. If you want to understand how crazy this all is, when I didn't get into Harvard or Stanford, a girl in my class came up and claimed to be shocked. When I asked why, she said that I was the smartest kid in school and Mexican.

She said that. I wasn't the smartest kid in the school. The point was she was going out of her way to be nice, which I appreciated, but it was already, even then , embedded in assumptions about race and ethnic identity, even where they didn't actually apply. I don't think that's healthy or desirable. But not getting into certain schools, at least then, was not such a big deal. I'm sorry I wasn't clear about that. If you create a context of assumptions, they're being applied even when you aren't aware of it. Just measuring the obvious doesn't end the analysis.

1. According to the Supreme Court, affirmative action is only permitted for the purpose of increasing diversity and gaining the educational benefits of a diverse student body, not as a method of historical redress. After all, why should elite universities, mostly located in the North and having nothing to do with slavery, be the ones responsible for repairing it? If the point of affirmative action is more diversity, there is nothing wrong with black people from Africa or the Caribbean being admitted, as these students arguably add even more diversity than African-Americans.

2. I’m not surprised at the state school finding. My experience was that the rich kids from my high school (a middle-class Midwestern one) typically preferred the flagship state university or other party school. The kids who went to the elite private universities were generally from upper-middle-class professional families with parents in nerdy jobs like engineers, professors, etc., not from the richest (usually business-owning) families.

"why should elite universities, mostly located in the North and having nothing to do with slavery"

Yale is named after one of its early benefactors, a slave-trader. That's why the students and faculty make so many demands that its name be changed.

John Harvard was a Pilgrim who settled on what was presumably Indian land. Princeton, as far as I can tell, is named after a prince. Let's just change all the names to geodetic coordinates (College of 76 degrees west, 39 north).

"mostly located in the North and having nothing to do with slavery,"

There was slavery in the Northern states. When Lincoln's Emancipation went into effect there were thousands of northern slaves freed.

Is this fact not taught in schools anymore?

Most of the states in the NE voted to 'abolish' new slaves between 1776-1804, but did not immediately freetheir existing slaves.


As you can see, many northern states still had slaves up until the 1840's. Delaware had a fairly significant number of slaves during the 1860's.

There was slavery in the Northern states. When Lincoln's Emancipation went into effect there were thousands of northern slaves freed.

This is incorrect, the emancipation proclamation specifically did NOT affect northern or border states.

I used to talk with Searle a fair bit. I wasn't aware of any issues re his treatment of females. He seemed to regard certain female philosophers highly and in a professional manner (as philosophers rather than as female philosophers). Lately it seems everyone has a duty to claim they were sexually victimized (if that's what the story is, and I'm not expressing an opinion on whether any particular story has merit or not). Every convencince store robber knows that (1) they can gain sympathy be claiming to have been sexually abused (2) no one will require corroboration (3) sympathy sometimes yields more lenient penalties, perhaps particularly for members of historically disadvantaged groups. Curiously, almost everyone who didn't get tenure or some other prize seems to have been sexually abused. Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit.

The biggest problem in this country is the quality of K-12 education, not who gets into what college.

I was raised dirt poor and received a full ride to an elite college. It is consistently in the top ten ratings, for what that is worth. I was thankful for the opportunity but I did envy the social connections of many classmates when it came to internships and jobs.

My children will probably go to a state school. Based on grades, test scores (top 1%), leadership positions, extracurricular, etc. they are competitive candidates at the most elites schools. But our income and assets make the net price at elite schools too high. My daughter can have a full ride based on merit awards at a state school or we will need to pay $80,000 per year for an "elite". I am lucky enough to be in the top 5% of wage earners, top 1% in assets, but after taxes, etc, $80,000 is a huge after-tax burden on our net income. People making much less will pay a much lower percentage on their net income. Just think of a family making $50,000 net getting $70,000 in college aid. Of course, people with a much higher net worth can afford to buy status.

For us, and many higher-income, but not top .01% rich, families, State schools and Honors programs are a better way to go. With an eye toward helping finance graduate or professional schools education later. I image as more upper-middle-class families make the same choice, State schools start to see more competition for spaces and lower-income students (who tend to have weaker academic credentials) get pushed out.

The elite schools have increasingly become the school of choice for the super-wealthy and those poor enough and bright to qualify for financial aid. And people wonder why they increasingly drift left.

BTW the elite school that I went to, these days it proudly announces that it gives full rides to students who are in the country illegally. They fund it out of the endowment fund. I was a child of immigrants but I do have an issue with funding illegals with funds that were raised with tax-deductible donations. (In part, they are cross-subsidized with high tuition from those who can pay full price.) They have priced me out because my after-tax income has failed to keep up with the price increases but are proud to give free rides to illegals.

This is easily changed, just allow open immigration from China and Vietnam. In about 20 years you would have much more students from the bottom 20% (children of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant restaurant workers).

You certainly are exaggerating. The student who made the allegation resulting in Searle’s expulsion raised this as a problem multiple times before Searle decided to lay her off. It wasn’t because she didn’t win a prize and it certainly wasn’t because she was bad at her job (it was an admin job for f..ks sake). As per the others, just look around google: I’ve yet to see a woman named or claiming to have been harassed NOT have tenure. Who knows, you may find one—but that doesn’t prove your argument. You could also look at the philosophy department’s placement record as another source of data.

The whole sour grapes argument is a tired trope and doesn’t support your cause (it also incidentally marks you as partisan). I’m certainly skeptical and annoyed at the whole campus rape hysteria meme but if there’s ever an open shut case, this it.

Honestly, what a stupid thing to say

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