Oh, and as to the "transformative effect" of graduate education, sure. I can easily see that but the biggest question for those who owe student loans is, can I get a job? And the answer for a very large fraction of Ph.D.s is "Yes, but it's a job you could have gotten without the degree." As to any prestige, well, what is prestige except the admiration of others? As a lawyer, I can tell you it exists. I can also tell you prestige doesn't pay the rent. I am not suggesting no one should go to law school or graduate school. I AM suggesting that before paying all that money and doing all that work one should adopt the jaundiced view of Dr. L. for a bit and make sure it's worthwhile.