The Pappy van Winkle Effect

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George Leef’s advice about the “Chivas Regal effect” in colleges should be heeded, especially when you consider that, for many students, the actual out-of-pocket expense of attending a very good university (as opposed to the on-paper tuition) often compares very favorably with the cost of attending a relatively middling institution.

Young people who are worried about student debt should . . . study a lot harder: Princeton, among other elite schools, goes to some lengths to help students graduate without taking on debt. Princeton boasts that 82 percent of its undergraduates exit free of debt, and that among those who do borrow money, the average debt at graduation is $9,000 — half of the average debt of a Texas Tech graduate, one-third the average debt of a Colorado College graduate.

And the average Harvard graduate finishes with about half the debt of the average Princeton graduate: less than $4,000 for the class of 2017. Given average expected earnings, a fresh Harvard graduate with the average debt who takes a job in New York would pay about four times his total student debt in income taxes his first year out of school.

At the same time, the average student borrower nationwide has almost $32,000 in debt. And that is why student debt is treated as a national crisis: The world really is run by C students.

That being said, I am surprised that, with whiskey prices being what they are, we are still calling this the “Chivas Regal effect.” Maybe the “Pappy van Winkle” effect?

(I know: Scotch vs. bourbon. But, then, I did not go to a very expensive university.)

Or we could do away with the liquor metaphor entirely and call this the “Colorado College effect.”


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