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Georgetown lists college financial ROI, but...

ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79009 replies701 threads Senior Member
Georgetown lists college financial ROI, but does not account for different majors. So it is no surprise that colleges with heavy representation of majors with good job and pay prospects (e.g. nursing, pharmacy, engineering, maritime professions) do well. The usual targets of Wall Street and consulting also do well. It is also no surprise that colleges that emphasize preparation for lower paying professions like cosmetology, religion, and arts do poorly in this ranking.

https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/collegeroi/

Of course, not every college student is motivated primarily by financial ROI, but most college students must consider that in relation to the cost of college and debt needed to pursue the desired education. But the financial ROIs listed here may not be that helpful except as an indicator if the student wants to study something which has focused schools in the subject, in which the financial ROI of those schools may be a hint, even if the student studies the subject elsewhere.
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Replies to: Georgetown lists college financial ROI, but...

  • NhatrangNhatrang 328 replies0 threads Member
    Very interesting! I love how Stevens is doing better than Princeton. And it's aligned with my experience with those 2 schools as well.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79009 replies701 threads Senior Member
    Stevens always does well in financial ROI comparisons of entire schools without considering majors, since its undergraduates have about 73% engineering and CS majors (another 9% in business).

    Other schools with high percentages of engineering and/or CS majors also do well. So do specialty schools in nursing and pharmacy.
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  • NhatrangNhatrang 328 replies0 threads Member
    Right , and MIT, wow.

    They really should do by majors, only way to have a fair comparison. A school like UCB that has pretty much everything, average out it's not as high as some others.
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  • Parent0347Parent0347 64 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 20
    @ucbalumnus - There are major-specific salary surveys. Bloomberg Business Week/Payscale for example *does* do salary surveys by major. In the group of engineering schools, Stevens graduates come in seventh in the US in terms of salary:

    https://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/best-schools-by-type/bachelors/engineering-schools

    Since this subset of Payscale's college ROI survey is confined to engineering majors only, it sets the comparison on a level playing field by excluding lower-paid majors. This refutes the argument that the overall ROI ranking is influenced by having a large percentage of engineering majors. It is particularly telling that Stevens does even better in the engineering-only ranking than it does in the overall survey which includes non-engineering majors.

    The seventh place position in the engineering-only survey is even more significant considering it is not influenced by the Quantitiative Finance/Financial Engineering and Computer Science majors, both cohort groups in the most recent graduating class being offered higher average starting salaries than the engineering cohort.

    Stevens does very well in the salary/ROI surveys in its peer group of engineering schools as well as in the overall survey of all schools because it equips its graduates with capabilities beyond that of most of its peers, particularly in the realm of engineering problems not being confined to one specific area or discipline. Industry, governments, et al are willing to pay a premium for that level of capability. Graduate schools also know this. Many Stevens graduates have earned advanced degrees at Princeton, MIT, JHU, UCB, CMU, and many other esteemed institutions.

    The Georgetown survey - which is a non-profit, non-commercial source - and doesn't have any horse in the ROI race (their graduates do pretty well I am certain too) corroborates this.
    edited November 20
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  • Techno13Techno13 305 replies11 threads Member
    There's also no adjustment for region. UCs, Stanford, etc are more likely to see their students land in CA where salaries are high (and COL). Midwest and southeast schools may produce students that are paid very well relative to the lower COL.
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  • Parent0347Parent0347 64 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 20
    @Techno13 - True, but in the Payscale engineering survey for example schools like Rose Hulman (Terra Haute), Georgia Tech (Atlanta), Kettering University (Flint), Colorado School of Mines (Golden), Missouri U. of S&T (Rolla) and others in low cost of living areas also do well in salary and ROI in comparison with peers from high COL areas as well.
    edited November 20
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  • sevmomsevmom 8445 replies57 threads Senior Member
    @Parent0347 Looks like that pay scale survey only includes "engineering schools" , public or private with 50% + engineering, CS, etc. grads. Some of the very big public schools with engineering aren't even included. They have engineering but also many other programs that are not STEM related.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79009 replies701 threads Senior Member
    Parent0347 wrote: »
    @ucbalumnus - There are major-specific salary surveys. Bloomberg Business Week/Payscale for example *does* do salary surveys by major. In the group of engineering schools, Stevens graduates come in seventh in the US in terms of salary:

    https://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/best-schools-by-type/bachelors/engineering-schools

    Since this subset of Payscale's college ROI survey is confined to engineering majors only,

    The Payscale pages you link do not say that the survey includes engineering majors only. It is a survey of what they define as "engineering schools" ("any school which grants more than 50 percent of their undergraduate degrees in math, sciences, computer science, engineering, and engineering technology majors based on data from IPEDS"). This is still not an apples-to-apples comparison for the same majors. Note that including sciences throws in the biology majors, whose relatively lower pay confounds any overall school comparison of "engineering schools". Even within engineering majors only, there is variation in pay by type of engineering.

    Stevens and some other schools do have career surveys by major, which are much more useful to a prospective student considering financial ROI, although one has to be careful of differences in survey and reporting methodology.
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  • Parent0347Parent0347 64 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 20
    Actually, most schools' career surveys (including Stevens) and the federal College Scorecard provide starting salaries and placement rates only. The only sources for long term ROI information are Payscale, Georgetown, etc. The schools' own surveys are certainly valuable in evaluating ROI potential.
    edited November 20
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1259 replies17 threads Senior Member
    This is somewhat like USNews’ overall ranking. I suppose it’s meaningful for administrators and education professionals but not really for students - no one majors in all of the programs offered by a college.

    It’s certainly skewed by the mix of majors and numbers of students by major.

    It would be interesting to see a similar comparison by area of study.

    Or, perhaps, the variance between earnings by major at a school and the national average for that major, weighted by the percentage of students in that major. That would show which schools truly outperform the expected earnings for their student mix.
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  • jmnva06jmnva06 780 replies7 threads Member
    I don't understand why people still think ROI is a useful tool for college selection.

    Its not like some STEM adverse student is going to say "ooo, I need be an engineer to maximize my ROI."

    I probably could have made more as a STEM major but I would have been far less happy.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79009 replies701 threads Senior Member
    jmnva06 wrote: »
    I don't understand why people still think ROI is a useful tool for college selection.

    Unlike many in these forums, many students need to consider cost and debt of college versus the ROI of their intended major and career path, so that they do not become another example of "drowning in student loan debt" after graduation.

    Yes, ROI usually relates more to major choice than college, but college choice is a big deal in determining cost and debt. Someone who wants to go into a lower income major and career (e.g. religion, arts) may need to be more debt averse than most others in choosing college.
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  • NhatrangNhatrang 328 replies0 threads Member
    edited November 20
    ^^ That sounds very reasonable, @ucbalumnus . But to be honest I don't know of anyone IRL who uses ROI as one of the college selection criteria (like location, CoA, size, major, etc..). I think the assumption is that good colleges = generally easier/better job prospect. That's as far as "ROI" is concerned. But no one is making the decision based on, say, the difference of 10K, 20K for their first job out of college. After all, those numbers are not guaranteed, and it's the average. It's really up to the individual how much effort they put into job searching.

    You can say this is just my anecdote, my bubble, but it's a pretty big bubble.

    ETA: Yes cost is very much on everyone's mind when applying for colleges, not just on CC. ROI is a different KPI all together.
    edited November 20
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  • CounselmomCounselmom 32 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Not surprising that pre-professional majors leave college ready for a relatively well paying job. I’d be interested in data on salaries 10 years out. Suspect that many of those theater, psychology, and history majors will be doing better if they attend grad school and become lawyers, psychologists, etc.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2549 replies36 threads Senior Member
    edited November 22
    Counselmom wrote: »
    Not surprising that pre-professional majors leave college ready for a relatively well paying job. I’d be interested in data on salaries 10 years out. Suspect that many of those theater, psychology, and history majors will be doing better if they attend grad school and become lawyers, psychologists, etc.

    Click on the Georgetown link and look at the charts/rankings.....NPV data starts at the 10 year mark. There is also 15, 20, 30 and 40 year NPV data. Not perfect info, but definitely interesting.

    If you are talking about the collegescoreboard data, yes it's only 1 year. It's not by major either, just field of study....there are more problems with that data as well, starting with it is just for the subset of students who qualified for Pell grants and/or took out Federal direct student loans which at many schools is a minority of students.

    edited November 22
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  • GreymeerGreymeer 826 replies12 threads Member
    ^ "I don't understand why people still think ROI is a useful tool for college selection"

    Here in Austin, many sandwich shop workers have UT degrees.
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  • gwnorthgwnorth 390 replies8 threads Member
    @jmnva06 wrote:
    I don't understand why people still think ROI is a useful tool for college selection.

    Its not like some STEM adverse student is going to say "ooo, I need be an engineer to maximize my ROI."

    Because not all schools are created equal and within the same major there maybe a wide variance in graduate outcomes. It's not a matter of a STEM adverse student choosing Engineering to maximize their ROI it's a matter of an Engineering or CS or History student choosing the school at which they are more likely to maximize their ROI in their chosen major. There's a reason why some schools have developed name brand recognition in certain fields. Employers recognize that the graduates of those programs are strong and the graduates do very well in their employment outcomes. There can also be variability in what types of employment guidance and support schools provide to all their students irrespective of major which can also result in better employment outcomes.
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  • monydadmonydad 7854 replies158 threads Senior Member
    edited November 22
    As pointed out above, salaries are related to job type ( some of which are related to major) and region. After regional cost of living is accounted for, a nominally higher wage in a high-cost area may actually represent much less effective purchasing power than a somewhat lower wage in a lower-cost area.

    I don't know where things stand now, but in the past, Payscale's data actually excluded graduates with advanced degrees, which further muddied the water. If all the arts & sciences grads who go on to (law school, medical school, MBA programs) are excluded, grads with these majors , at some schools, will look "worse" compensation-wise vs. the engineers than they otherwise would. IIRC at my school something like 55% of arts & sciences majors went on for advanced degrees.
    edited November 22
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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 1138 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Also, don't forget that many graduates are not singularly driven by purchasing power in their first job. Many, especially CS/Engineering, are seeking the best opportunities from a technology perspective. They look for companies where they can continue to work on the leading edge of development. Many such opportunities just happen to be in high COL areas. Coincidence? Probably not.
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