My 7-yr-old understands the economics of higher ed

College costs more than your salary

Sorry it’s been a while: It turns out that simultaneously launching ProfHacker and getting elected union president had deleterious effects on my private blogging. But no more!)

On New Year’s Eve, the 7-year-old spent about 45 minutes putting together a board game version of Life. (Yes, that’s a homemade version of an actual board game, which he’s never played. But his grammy tried to sell him on the iOS version, and so he made up his own. Win!)

My favorite* part of the game is his representation of college (pictured), in which a degree costs $200, but the job you ultimately get only pays you $100. (Yes, he misspells “college”–it’s because he was drunk on sparkling cider for the holiday.) In the course of gameplay, it turns out that that $100 really is all college nets you, so it’s basically worth negative-$100 to have a fun drinking educational experience in your 20s. Welcome to the twenty-teens in America: Where the returns on higher education tuition are diminishing rapidly in the face of stagnant wages and morally shocking unemployment.  This picture will only get worse as state & federal disinvestment in higher education leads to higher tuition, a sort of hidden tax on future generations.

*Ok, my secret favorite part of the game is his representation of the legal system, where free speech costs $20 and being robbed gets you $200, but getting married *costs* you money. I’ve always said he’s a smart kid.

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