HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.


In a typical year, more than 2 million recent U.S. high-school graduates begin college in the fall. Students and families, in taking the huge financial leap into the college market, face both uncertainty and risk. Since the vast majority of students receive at least some merit- or need-based aid, it isn't possible to identify the actual price for a given four-year college without gaining admission to that institution and completing an arduous financial-aid process. Further, while decades of evidence demonstrate that, in general, a college degree increases an individuals earning power, the choice to go to college still involves financial risk. That's because many people enroll but do not complete a degree and because one's future wages are highly uncertain in any case. Two new books, Making College Pay by Beth Akers and The Price You Pay for College by Ron Lieber, aim to orient families to a view of college as a financial investment and to help them make better decisions as a result. Both authors have been studying this subject for years, and their expertise shines through in the information and insights they present.


Avery, Christopher. "Advice and Caution on Investing in a College Education: An economist and a financial journalist offer their strategies." Review of Making College Pay: An Economist Explains How to Make a Smart Bet on Higher Education by Beth Akers, and The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make by Ron Lieber, by Beth Akers. Education Next, 21.3, Summer 2021.