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posted: 6/26/2014 5:30 AM

'Ivory Tower' questions necessity of college education

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  • Yale University and Harvard Law School grad Andrew Rossi directs "Ivory Tower," about the insane cost of going to college.

      Yale University and Harvard Law School grad Andrew Rossi directs "Ivory Tower," about the insane cost of going to college.


WBEZ recently reported how two young married doctors couldn't get a mortgage approval because of their staggering student debt.

This report would fit right in with Andrew Rossi's "Ivory Tower," a timely new doc that dissects the cultural assumption that a college education remains a modern necessity at all costs.

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Rossi, director of the journalistically insightful "Page One: Inside The New York Times," reports that the price of college has increased by 1,120 percent since 1978, and that American student debt has topped $1 trillion, an outrageous amount that trumps even credit card debt.

"Ivory Tower" judiciously goes about illustrating how big-name party schools have spent millions in vacation-resort amenities -- swimming pools, mountain-climbing rocks, stunning architecture -- to woo students, who must then bear the cost of these extras.

Remember zillionaire Peter Thiel who offered students $100,000 to dodge college and start up their own businesses? He's in this doc, along with famous Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, plus students protesting the end of 150 years of free tuition at New York's Cooper Union, and a formerly homeless Cleveland student enjoying a free education thanks to Harvard's need-based assistance policies.

This is one meaty doc beefed up with information and insights. But for all of its journalistic veracity, "Ivory Tower" covers so many tangent issues, albeit relevant ones, that it risks enrolling us at the university of Numbed State.

"Ivory Tower" opens at the Century Centre in Chicago. Rated PG-13 for suggestive images. 97 minutes. ★ ★ ★

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