Robert Siegel

Next month, there's a world chess championship match in New York City, and the two competitors, the assembled grandmasters, the budding chess prodigies, the older chess fans — everyone paying attention — will know this indisputable fact: A computer could win the match hands down.

They've known as much for almost 20 years — ever since May 11, 1997. On that day, IBM's Deep Blue defeated the great Garry Kasparov who, after an early blunder, resigned in defeat.

Throughout the last academic year, we've followed a group of students who graduated from high school a few years ago in Montgomery County, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. We spent the last year talking with them about their choice of public, private or community college. Was the cost worth it? What is the value of higher education?

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit