New Report Measures ‘Return on Investment’ of Various College Degrees

Here are some questions and answers about tuition fees:

The average published cost of a four-year public university, including state tuition, fees, room and board, is now about $ 22,000 per year, according to the College Board. The average annual costs at private, non-profit universities with a term of four years are far more than twice as high.

The report estimated how long it would take to meet a student’s net expenses based on the “premium” a student earned from attending college. Here’s an example: if a student is doing a business degree and earns $ 15,000 more than a typical high school graduate in the state, the earnings bonus is $ 15,000. If the deal costs $ 60,000, it would take four years to pay for itself. If the majority of graduates in a program are able to amortize their costs in 10 years or less, the program is considered to offer a reasonable return on investment; five years or less is even better.

The report looked at around 2.2 million students who graduated in 2015 and 2016. Their earnings were measured two years later (2017 and 2018) and then adjusted to 2019 dollars. It was about the expenses a graduate would pay after deducting scholarships and grants.

University advisors warn against choosing a course based on the potential salary alone. For example, high school juniors can often find it difficult to know what areas or careers will interest them six years later (or longer if they are in graduate school), said Jeff Levy, an independent education advisor in Santa Monica, California.

And exposure to new ideas and topics in college can spark interest in career paths they don’t yet know about, he said. “I would advise families to ignore the data,” Levy said. “It’s noise.”

He suggested that students interested in studying because it is currently lucrative – for example, nursing – seek volunteer experience in the field. This will help in deciding whether or not they really want to study and will help them apply because such programs are often highly competitive.

Carrie Warick, director of politics and advocacy at the National College Attainment Network, a nonprofit advocating low-income and minority students, said they seek a degree a student has no affinity for simply because they pay well will. was probably unwise.

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