Incidentally, while American college education is very expensive and seems to be a lot more expensive than it truly needs to be in educational terms, I take stories like this about sorority rush consultants to be evidence that there continued to be a robust market for a high-quality teen housing/education/entertainment experience:
So Mrs. King, who graduated from Yale in 1984, before it had any sororities, enlisted the aid of Marlea Foster and Pat Grant, local consultants who had coached their own daughters through rush at Furman, the University of Georgia and Auburn University. Naming themselves the Rushbiddies, they opened shop in 2009 after hearing about the rush misfortunes of their daughters’ friends. About 50 mothers and their “chicks,” as the Biddies affectionately call them, attended one of their two-day workshops in April ($100 a couple), complete with mock rush party, wardrobe hints and paperwork prep. [...]
Ms. von Sperling offers a Friday-to-Sunday intensive, for $8,000. One day is devoted to carrying yourself properly and the art of conversation. Treat rush, she says, as you would a job interview. Avoid politics and religion. “I teach them how to make interesting small talk: what you saw at the cinema, a trip to Europe. I don’t know too many 20-year-olds who are having a debate about economics.” Another day is for getting physically ready — hair, makeup and wardrobe. Ms. von Sperling organizes “outfits down to accessories, completely strategized.” Just in case a client forgets, outfits are photographed and placed in a style file.
This is in the midst of a very weak patch in the labor market when a lot of people's stock investments are in the toilet. Insofar as people have money, they seem very inclined to spend it on health care services for themselves and their parents and educational services for their kids.