According the College Board’s new report touting public benefits of higher education, college graduates smoke less and are likelier to exercise than other Americans. And they?re civically engaged; they vote more, volunteer more and communicate better.

The College Board implies that all of these benefits result from individuals going to college.

I’d like to propose an alternative theory: the qualities that attract one to higher education also motivate one to be healthier, happier and more civically engaged. I wonder if any of the college board “findings” would stand up to real testing.

Buried in the end of InsideHigherEd’s coverage of the study:

And, as the report makes clear, the correlation-causation issue is important to consider. In other words, it?s hard to tell how much of the disparity cited is a result of students completing four years of college or, say, simply a product of their background.

No? You don’t say?