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One does not need to look at forecasts of future costs of education to pick out a perhaps overlooked gorilla in the room: the current cost of higher education -- a cost which has risen at over 10 times the rate of other costs in the past several decades.

By way of example, In 1970, the cost of room and board at an Ivy League university was $2000. One year of tuition was $2000. Currently, the cost of room and board is $4000, and one year of tuition is $40,000 !!

On top of that, institutions of higher education are behaving every bit as a cartel. Financial statements by parents of applicants are shared across the board, and the calculation for determining "financial aid", at least at private institutions, works basically by (1) establishing a very large "suggested retail price" for the cost of tuition (one which is out of reach by all except the very wealthy), and then (2) providing "assistance" to a degree that would just barely avoid insolvency of the revenue producer, the parents, and 'discounting' the high cost with a combination of grants and loans.

Couple that with both the perception and in part the reality that an undergraduate education is considered an essential rite of passage to even have a chance at starting out on the path to a successful life and career, and you have the makings of a gatekeeper that can collectively charge whatever it wants for the price of admission.

Also, those who have made a career within the citadels of academia naturally find the earning power of being a member of a select club quite enticing, and powerful.

Finally, the feeder system of public elementary and secondary education has fallen far behind and is not producing minimal skills in a sufficient percentage of the youth population.

Fortunately, electronically available sources of knowledge still make it possible for someone eager to learn and acquire knowledge.

As far as what the "top 10 schools" will be in 20 years, I agree that it is a completely self-serving and misguided question.

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