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Opinion
Megan McArdle

It Shouldn't Be So Easy to Go to Grad School

Universities are milking the huge loan sums from grad students to subsidize the cost of undergraduate degrees. This system is broken.
We're both Gemini vegetarians.

We're both Gemini vegetarians.

Photographer: Eric Ford/Online USA

Almost 20 years ago, when I was applying to MBA programs, the conventional wisdom was that unless you could get into a top-10 program, you probably shouldn’t go. The tuition at a high-ranking program was steep (I would eventually graduate with nearly $100,000 in debt), but if you managed to get in, recruiters for six-figure jobs would swarm onto campus and practically beg you to work for them.

The tuition at lower-level schools was also very steep, but students had to frantically labor to secure a job afterwards. Some found jobs that were no better than the jobs they’d left to go to business school. The lower the ranking of the school, the less value the graduates got out of their degree, until you got down to programs that seemed to mostly be run for the benefit of the university that was collecting the tuition check.