There’s no argument that college graduates have more opportunities and make more money, Daniel Indiviglio says at The Atlantic. And there’s a good case to be made that education is valuable in itself. But should college degrees be as important as they are in today’s economy?

Indiviglio says a college degree has become a proxy for intelligence even in jobs that traditionally didn’t require one–a very expensive document attesting to an applicant’s basic competence. A high school diploma used to serve the same purpose, but is no longer enough in many places.

As college becomes more and more valuable, it becomes more and more expensive. And we know what happens when an asset’s cost exceeds rational valuation–like housing, for example.

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