Oddly, I'd say this is the most controversial and arguable of all of Bob's posts, in history.
Which covers quite a bit of ground.
I went to one of the "elites," and at that time (long long ago
) to a great extent it was what Bob says. But I understand it ain't necessarily so any more, based on stats that I've seen (e.g. in those US News & World Report issues). I hope those stats are misleading but I have a feeling they're not.
And I think the poorer graduation rates at the state schools are more due to other factors. Like:
(1) Different types of students to begin with
(2) Lesser cost, so lesser pressure to stick with it
(3) More transferring out of those schools to other schools
BTW.....I would like to believe that regardless of the stats (and actual facts), students who want very much to get the closer attention and smaller classes can do it, just about anywhere, by picking a certain amount of certain kinds of courses and going about things in certain ways. Don't know if it's true, but it certainly was in my day. I had many more small classes than most other people, and even in the huge courses, I had a lot of contact with whomever, when I felt like it. And I liked how the big courses meant that you could miss classes with impunity when you felt like it, which also helped my education a great deal -- no joke.