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Replies to: I'm surprised by some names on this list

  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl 2845 replies106 threads Senior Member
    There are some pretty highly ranked LACs on that list. Wonder how this list compares to one you might see on a ROI list of the top 50 LACs.
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  • college_querycollege_query 4460 replies360 threads Senior Member
    It's hard to know how much trust to put in these kinds of reports. What methodology was used to come up with these numbers?

    I used to work at a university, and it was difficult contacting alums and getting them to respond to surveys. After students graduate, they don't always update their address/contact information.

    I don't think I've ever been contacted by my alma mater to report my income, and if I was, I probably wouldn't respond. And ten years after I graduated I was a stay-at-home mom for a few years, so I would have driven the average salary numbers down!
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  • donnaleighgdonnaleighg 1548 replies33 threads Senior Member
    ^exactly. And you have no idea how many of these folks are in grad school 10 years out, and earning next to nothing. Agree I've never been contacted about salary, and I also wouldn't answer.
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 6544 replies209 threads Senior Member
    Even the federal government is struggling to pull salary info by college. They can do it for Pell Grant recipients (the national student loan data system or NSLDS), but that's about it.

    Here's the link to the Federal College Scorecard (for Albion College). You can tell this is where they are pulling income data for the list that was created.

    https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/search/?name=Albion College&sort=advantage:desc
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13237 replies247 threads Senior Member
    The data is from payscale. So not very useful. I also note those schools are mostly in the midwest where coa is lower.
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  • NotVerySmartNotVerySmart 1608 replies62 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    Another factor, in addition to the ones listed above, is the difference in career choices between some LACs on the list and your average college. For instance, I'd be willing to bet that Oberlin sends more students than your average college to public service/policymaking professions. However, those jobs aren't always the most lucrative at first - a government salary is rarely a ticket to an extravagant lifestyle. I'd imagine that after 20-30 years (i.e. beyond the period covered by this study) such students will have the option of selling their souls to the devil and making six figures as lobbyists. They may not do so, but Oberlin will give them that option - making low earnings at that point in their careers a choice rather than a hardship forced upon them.
    edited April 2016
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83786 replies743 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    College major and career choices made by students likely have the biggest effect, and it just so happens that these colleges attract a lot of students who choose lower paying directions.

    One of the schools is UC Santa Cruz. It has its own career survey by major:
    http://careers.ucsc.edu/about/fds_reports_page.html

    Example median pay of employed graduates:
    $81,500 economics
    $79,500 computer engineering
    $71,500 computer science
    $66,908 computer game design
    $56,000 business management economics
    $52,100 electrical engineering
    $37,092 biochemistry and molecular biology
    $33,600 marine biology
    $32,364 ecology and evolutionary biology
    $31,320 overall
    $29,232 sociology
    $28,740 psychology
    $27,144 human biology
    $24,000 biology
    $20,000 marine biology

    You can probably guess that the most of the more popular majors at UCSC are among those leading to lower paid employment after graduation.
    edited April 2016
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  • sensation723sensation723 571 replies1 threads Member
    I believe the data because a large number of the schools on the list are graduate school feeders. If they are in grad school of course their pay would be lower.
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  • HannaHanna 14866 replies42 threads Senior Member
    Payscale data probably excludes people with completed graduate degrees from the calculation.
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  • MagnetronMagnetron 2665 replies5 threads Senior Member
    ^ That should be accounted for in that they use median instead of average. It is only relevant if a very high proportion are in grad school, and still in grad school when those terrible ten year salaries are reported.

    I'm surprised by Whitman, in a state where minimum wage is $9.47 but typical teenagers start at $10/hr or more. Same for Reed in Oregon at $9.25/hr minimum. Their graduates are barely above minimum wage.
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  • HannaHanna 14866 replies42 threads Senior Member
    "It is only relevant if a very high proportion are in grad school"

    No, I'm talking about _completed_ grad school, 10 years out. Some of these comparisons only look at the graduates who stopped with an undergrad degree.
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  • MagnetronMagnetron 2665 replies5 threads Senior Member
    Sorry Hanna, I was replying to sensation723's assertion, not yours. I'm old and really slow at typing. You, Hanna, may be the most trustworthy source on this website.

    My poorly worded point is that whether or not students go to grad school would be largely irrelevant to the rest of the data. Even if they are big PhD feeder schools, most will be done and working before six years, few would be in graduate school and even fewer at 10 years. Data tend to cluster around the median and counting or discounting those in a graduate program would have little effect on the numbers.
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 6544 replies209 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    The data is from payscale.
    @OHMomof2
    No, it's from the Federal "College Scorecard Data" website. :-B

    https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/

    Scroll to the bottom ("featured downloads"), and the data can be downloaded, it's in the "Post-school earnings" file.

    Six Year Median Salary can be found in column "BV" (md_earn_wne_P6)
    10 Year Median Salary can be found in column "AV" (md_earn_wne_P10).

    The spreadsheet includes over 7,800 institutions, so I would recommend sorting it by institution name (column B). In fact, you can use this spreadsheet to compare several different schools, but first sorting by name and then selecting the schools you wish to compare. Some schools are missing data (NULL) and a few schools have the data suppressed (PrivacySuppressed).
    edited April 2016
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 6544 replies209 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    On the source of "Earnings Income":
    Earnings −

    One of the most common reasons students cite in choosing to go to college is the expansion of employment opportunities. To that end, data on the earnings and employment prospects of former students can provide key information. To measure the labor market outcomes of individuals attending institutions of higher education, data on cohorts of federally aided students were linked with earnings data from de-identified tax records and reported back at the aggregate, institutional level.
    •Average and Median Earnings, Disaggregated by Student Subgroups
    •Share of Former Students Earning Over $25,000

    https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/documentation/

    So, it's federally aided students linked to tax records.
    edited April 2016
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13237 replies247 threads Senior Member
    Odd because it SAYS Payscale on the card for each school under "Sources" @Gator88NE .
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 6544 replies209 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    I think the 6 and 10 year median salary used to create these rankings is from the federal data, while the standard "Startclass Overview" that's available for each school on the startclass website, uses those other sources of data: National Center for Education Statistics | Wintergreen Orchard House | PayScale.

    No where on Payscale do I see them reporting "6 and 10 year median" salaries. They report salaries in ranges (1 to 4, 5 to 9, 10-19...etc) or they project 20 and 24 year median incomes. The salary info that Payscale has, clearly does not match what's being used to form this list, while it's a 100% match to the federal supplied data.

    Lets use Albion College (#25 in the list) as an example.

    http://www.payscale.com/research/US/School=Albion_College/Salary

    Payscale only have data on 12 "Salaries". On average, these salaries are far higher, than the $30,500/$45,100 values from the website.

    While the 6 year and 10 year median values do not match the Payscale survey data, they are a 100% match to the data in the Federal data sheet.

    I also check Westmont College (#24) and it's data is also a 100% match to what I find in the federal supplied data.

    Payscale? it has data on 16 alumni, almost all of which earn far more than the median salary ($30,500 and $48,300) reported on that website.

    http://www.payscale.com/research/US/School=Westmont_College/Salary#by_Years_Experience
    edited April 2016
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  • HannaHanna 14866 replies42 threads Senior Member
    "data on cohorts of federally aided students"

    Oho -- so the full-pay kids are excluded from the analysis? If so, no wonder the numbers are so low.
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 6544 replies209 threads Senior Member
    Poking around the startclass website, I can confirm they do use the Federal College Scorecard data (the NSLDS data). It's number 10 of the 13 categories they have for each school.

    http://colleges.startclass.com/l/2019/Albion-College

    Here they are using the data to determine Family income of students:
    Higher than Average Family Income

    Students enrolling in Albion have a median family income of $89,814, which is much higher than average compared to all colleges (average: $54,174).

    Using NSLDS data for Title IV-receiving students (those receiving federal loans and/or grants), the College Scorecard data tracks average family income and percentage of financially independent students from 1997 to 2013. Data is for rolling two-year pooled cohorts, e.g. the 2013 data has values for the 2013 and 2014 student cohorts. Years with less than 50 reported students are not included. Values are inflation-adjusted to real 2014 dollars.


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  • simba9simba9 3379 replies20 threads Senior Member
    I'm very surprised Economics is the highest paid major at UC Santa Cruz. My wife has an Economics degree, and she thought it was useless in getting a job.

    I'd have thought most people graduating from UC Santa Cruz were running medical marijuana clinics or something like that.
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  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 1572 replies13 threads Senior Member
    @Hanna Not just full pay but all who didn't receive federal grants. This is a sample size similar to this year's PSAT percentile table fiasco.
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