The Unseen, Personal Costs of College

In a blog for Yahoo! Finance last week I asked readers Is the American Meritocracy Broken? Within a few hours of the post going live, about 200 readers responded to the question. The theme of personal responsibility came up over and over again in their comments. One reader captured our complicated relationship with meritocracy as follows: 

Granted, I went from the bottom 20 to the top 20% because of education but is much harder to do these days. However, blaming government is a cop out and an excuse and most of you are personally responsible for your predicament. 

One thread that was consistent across many comments was that the reaction to declining economic opportunity can be to either give up, or to work harder. An article in yesterday's New York Times underscores this theme, profiling young college students who are working extremely hard to put themselves through school.