The Ferrari Degree

Your editorial staff recently enjoyed a weekend with old college friends and spent the trip home discussing the value of Ivy League degrees: are they worthwhile, or only expensive ornaments? By way of answer, a short vignette:

You’re at a Ferrari dealership, looking at Testarossas. The Ferrari is the most perfectly engineered car ever built; the innovation and precision which go into its design and construction are unheard of in other automobiles, and each one carries a price tag to match.

Down the street is a Ford lot, where the dealer tells you that his trucks are dependable, reliable and safe. Undoubtedly, this is true. Ford makes quality trucks and cars which are stylish and affordable. Further, the Ford dealer points out, the main purpose of any vehicle is to get you from Point A to Point B, and a Ford will do that just as certainly as a Ferrari (he knows you’ve been at the Ferrari dealership down the street). Also, his cars cost a fraction of what the Italian sportscars cost. They’ll get you around, he promises, just as well as the Ferraris, and won’t bankrupt you doing it.  

The Ford dealer is right, of course. But what he doesn’t mention is that, while his truck might get you from Point A to Point B as surely as something else, a Ferrari will get you there a lot faster… and you’ll really enjoy the ride.

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2 Responses to The Ferrari Degree

  1. Hensel says:

    This implies that the Ivies are Ferraris and every other school in the country is a Ford. Almost every private school is ridiculously expensive. Would you consider WashU the Lambergini dealership? Maybe SLU could be Lexuses. Hell, Illinois undergrad is about $40k/yr for non-residents. The point is the only way you get down to Ford trucks on just comparative cost is by comparing your degree to any random 2yr JuCo degree.

  2. Andrew Eastman says:

    Hensel, thanks for reading. Didn’t mean to exclude the rest of the private college pack… the Ivies are just all that we’d had experience with, so our observations were limited by that.

    Plus, the conversation wasn’t about whether every private school was worthwhile or not, just if the Ivies were because they’re the most well-known, and thus the most easily and readily criticized, group. But the logic is by no means limited to just those eight schools.

    Actually, the Ivies are probably less appropriate to this analogy than other schools, like Tufts or Washington University, because the Ivies have such tremendous endowments dedicated to financial aid that the cost of attending is much lower than commonly thought.

    So really, the Fords might be less affordable overall because the Ferraris come half-off, full of government subsidies, and with great no-interest financing.

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