From an [*Inside Higher Ed* story](https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/09/16/studies-pick-college-programs-best-investment-returns) on a pair of new reports measuring the program-specific "return on investment" at U.S. colleges and universities:

> Among those earning bachelor’s degrees, the Third Way report found that 100 percent of nursing and engineering students took five years or less to recoup their educational investments, compared to 44 percent in anthropology programs and 45 percent in religious studies.

Though it's been the driving frame for 40-odd years now, ROI thinking—that what a college degree is for is always and obviously to maximize lifetime earnings—has reached second-nature status. Stories like [this one](https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/09/16/studies-pick-college-programs-best-investment-returns) don't even bother to include a dissenting voice.