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    McDonnell University

    Pondering the actual costs of higher education worldwide

    Dr. McDonnell

    A former fellow of mine, a Brazilian ophthalmologist, invited me to his home during a visit to his country. After a day of lecturing, we unwound with cocktails while looking out over his large city. We talked about his growing practice, where he is a successful corneal and refractive surgeon and senior partner.  Naturally we discussed politics. I asked about his wife, who I had not yet met.

    “What does your wife do?” I inquired. “She has a university” he replied. “Do you mean she is a professor or dean in the university?” I asked. “No”, he responded.  “She owns the university.”  Intrigued, I asked, “How big is her university?” “It’s about average” said my friend. “How many students are in the university?” I asked.  “50,000” was his response. “Are you telling me your wife owns a university that has five zero thousand students in it!” I exclaimed. “That’s right,” he said, not really understanding why the concept should come as a surprise to his North American professor.

    More from Dr. McDonnell: Working the system at expense of veteran care

    For several reasons, it would be fantastic to have my own university. Higher education makes wonderful things happen, not the least of which is breaking the cycle of poverty in families and in emerging countries. For individuals, the funding of a university degree remains a good investment. According to The Economist magazine, “recent research suggests that the conventional wisdom remains true:  a university degree pays handsomely . . . unemployment rates for graduates are far below average . . . for at least a century, firms have sought to hire ever more of the best-educated workers.”1 According to The Economist, this accounts for a sizable portion of the income inequality in the United States.


    Next: Breaking it Down

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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