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Colleges That "Pay Off" the Least

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey 31 replies296 threads Editor
Dave Berry examines a new report indicating which colleges are the least likely to pay off: https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/colleges-that-pay-off-the-least
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Replies to: Colleges That "Pay Off" the Least

  • TheBigChefTheBigChef 579 replies5 threads Member
    So, ten years after entering (and presumably 6 years after graduating), the median Bennington grad earns less than $30K? That's pretty bad.
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  • waverlywizzardwaverlywizzard 159 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I don't see anything that lists the average indebtedness however. Where is that if you can point that out because that is the key really. Not just poor earning potential vs cost.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8510 replies91 threads Senior Member
    Some highly ranked LACs appear on this list of 50 colleges that pay off the least.

    Worst is #1 Bennington College followed by #2 College of the Atlantic.

    Noteworthy are:

    #8 Bard College

    #9 Oberlin College

    #11 Sarah Lawrence

    #12 Reed College

    #13 Colorado College

    #18 Kenyon College

    #19 Macalester College

    #20 Smith College

    #32 Grinnell College

    #36 Vassar College

    #38 Mount Holyoke College

    #42 Carleton College

    #47 Wesleyan University
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1447 replies20 threads Senior Member
    At a place like Read( and others) a large group is still in a PhD program or Post Doc at that time.
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  • MAmom111MAmom111 166 replies11 threads Junior Member
    ^^ I believe the article states that is is based on graduates that are working, not in school.
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  • TheBigChefTheBigChef 579 replies5 threads Member
    According to Bennington's website, 51% of its students graduate with debt, and the average debt amount is $26,073 - which is actually pretty manageable. Still, I'm struck by how low the median salary is 6 years after graduating. Even in Vermont, it would be tough to live on less than $30K per year. You could do better than that with just a HS diploma ten years out.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1107 replies16 threads Senior Member
    edited October 17
    Eeyore123 wrote: »
    At a place like Read( and others) a large group is still in a PhD program or Post Doc at that time.

    Then they wouldn’t have been included. The methodology included students:

    “that are working and not enrolled in school 10 years after matriculation ”

    (Assuming you mean Reed, with 88% reported to be employed 2 years after graduation, I don’t think the population in a PhD program after 6 years is going to be that large.)

    This isn’t really that surprising, given data on average earnings by profession and the majors/degrees/typical professions of LAC graduates.

    And yes, debt level should go into an overall “cost” or “payback” analysis. This is simply an “earnings:cost ratio” ranking. I would hypothesize that the more expensive schools on the list would fare worse.
    edited October 17
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  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 38 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited October 17
    Perhaps measuring happiness and sense of fulfillment of these alumni would alter the results a bit?
    Or maybe not...
    edited October 17
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  • PublisherPublisher 8510 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited October 17
    I find it interesting that both #13 Colorado College & #18 Kenyon College made the list as I believe that both have a significant percentage of students from high income families. Additionally, I find the student bodies at these two colleges to be quite similiar.

    Most surprising to me was that #42 Carleton College made this list.
    edited October 17
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10046 replies172 threads Super Moderator
    edited October 17
    TheBigChef wrote:
    Even in Vermont, it would be tough to live on less than $30K per year.
    It's doable as a single person if you're frugal and not living in one of the most expensive areas of the country. I lived in west LA for several years on $22K a year as a PhD student. I didn't have a lot of money left over each year, but I wasn't starving either.

    As @RichInPitt noted, this list is mostly unsurprising. Colleges with high percentages of arts and humanities majors like Bennington, Bard, and SLC naturally have lower salaries on average than schools with high percentages of STEM and/or business majors like Harvey Mudd and Bucknell.

    As I wrote in a recent post, Georgetown's "Economic Value of College Majors" found that mid-career salaries of humanities and social science majors (with the notable exception of econ) were lower than for many STEM majors.

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/22399864#Comment_22399864
    edited October 17
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  • waverlywizzardwaverlywizzard 159 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Agree as RichinPitt noted this is simply earnings:cost ratio ranking and provides no data on student loan indebtedness.
    It would be more persuasive if they provided data on how many Bennington College students qualified for and received federal student aide vs full payers. My guess is the school is loaded with full payers not full loaners.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8510 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited October 17
    According to the information contained in the most recent US News Best Colleges 2020 Edition, Bennington College reported that 62% of undergrads were determined to have financial need & that the average aid package was $45,929 per year. (Annual COA is about $73,000.) Only 704 full time students & 31 part time students.

    #2 College of the Atlantic has just 315 full time students & 15 part time students. 84% receive aid averaging $41,600 per year, while total COA runs about $54,000 per year.

    #20 Smith College, #2 College of the Atlantic, #33 Denison University, #47 Wesleyan University, #19 Macalester College, #17 Hendrix College, and #29 Lawrence University, & #10 Earlham College all award significant amounts of grant aid to well over 50% of their students. As does #32 Grinnell College. #42 Carleton College awards significant grant aid to about 55% of their students.
    edited October 17
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  • allhailcorporateallhailcorporate 46 replies1 threads Junior Member
    According to the methodology of the original report, this only includes students who received federal financial aid. There is a very large percentage of students who do not receive federal financial aid that is not being captured in this dataset.
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  • Data10Data10 3039 replies8 threads Senior Member
    TheBigChef wrote: »
    So, ten years after entering (and presumably 6 years after graduating), the median Bennington grad earns less than $30K? That's pretty bad.
    According to CollegeNavigator/IPEDS, the most popular majors at Bennington are:

    1. Visual and Performing Arts
    2. General Literature
    3. Drama
    4. Animation and Production Design
    5. Music
    6. Dance

    The few CS majors at Bennington likely have very different results from the larger groups above. I think the list is largely a measure of what majors pay off the least, rather than what colleges.

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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1448 replies35 threads Senior Member
    For most schools, majors are the most important factors for average students on post-graduation earnings. Only a few colleges offer their students added opportunities regardless of their majors because of the cachet of their names.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1485 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Some of those are pretty shocking. Seem to be a couple of factors that jump out. Many are colleges, small, very slanted to liberal arts. Many of these schools have also been in the news mainly for activism ( not a political comment but more of an observation). Many are also in rural areas or areas in which high paying jobs are not that widely available. Frankly, I’m shocked how low the incomes are 10 years out. And some of those schools are really tough to get into ( wesleyan etc).
    I would revisit before my kid applied to any of these schools. $ isnt everything but it sure is part of the whole picture.
    I’d love to see a subset of parental income. My guess is that it’s hugher than normal. Due to this, kids didn’t ferl the pressure to learn to earn so they didn’t. Would be great to know if this return has changed in recent years.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1448 replies35 threads Senior Member
    blossom wrote: »
    There's a reason for the cachet- it's called rigor. [...] But to pretend that it's cachet is not reflected in reality.
    Cachet doesn't come out of blue. It's earned over time, but is still cachet. Rigor doesn't really explain it, or at least most of it. Is Harvard more rigorous than JHU, for example? It certainly has more cachet, in many circles.
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  • bklynkidsbklynkids 22 replies15 threads Junior Member
    edited October 17
    I’m an artist, with degrees from Ivy League institutions. These colleges attract people interested in the arts, where incomes are much lower. I made very little, for decades. It has little to do with the quality of the education.
    edited October 17
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