The problem with most analysis of the value of a college or graduate degree is that the aggregate figures include the sharks graduating from the elite schools - many of whom would have been just as successful without their degrees - and then attempt to apply it to Jane Average who is planning to attend Podunk State.
When I was presenting my thesis in university, the questioning with a professor turned to graduates who got their degrees from big-name universities.
The professor stated that the magnificent success of such students justified the costs of education. I replied that such students were brilliant to begin with -- they would have earned big bucks even if they hadn't received their degrees from the top level universities. Basically, it's tough to quantify the added benefit of these institutions.
The professor's face got all red. He, perhaps, took it personally that his profession doesn't underwrite the success of smart students. His voice got strident and he said that the parents of such students wouldn't be donating tons of money to these universities if they didn't provide them a benefit.
I thought, but didn't say, "Your face looks like a tomato."
I continued with my presentation and didn't argue further.
Many years ago, I read a book called Class. It was a pretty funny book, but one point that I remembered was the citation of a study which showed that unless you obtained it from a university that had been established prior to some date in the nineteenth century, your degree wouldn't add anything to your expected lifetime income.
The Great Depression 2.0 is making this clear for many.