Bennington Student Outcomes

I have a question about Bennington College. According to the New York Times, a study of student outcomes show that graduates of Bennington rank near the bottom in student incomes:

According to the study, at 34 the median student income is only $19,700. This places it at the bottom of selective colleges (71 out of 71) and 2,061 out of 2,137 when compared to all of the colleges in the study. It ranked near the bottom in the “overall mobility index” and in the “chance that a poor student would become a rich adult” category.

Does it have to do with the majors the students are selecting? Sarah Lawrence also has very poor rankings in the study. Bard wasn’t much better.

How can the median student income be so low? Less than $10/hr? Is there a problem with the data in the study? Any first hand experience out there?

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It likely has to do with the most common majors. About 33% of the students major in visual arts, 10% major in drama, and 12% in music. That means that 55% are majoring in fields with low and/or unpredictable income. So the median is very likely to be pretty low. They also likely had a very small sample size, and one which was even more skewed towards the low income side of the so I don’t know how representative it is for the college as a whole.

The data on the College Scoreboard is very similar, and the main data that they have on income is for graduates in Visual and Performing Arts. So that, salary data is likely the salaries of baristas whose main income is unreported tips…

Bennington also has a negative 10 year NPV (so does Sarah Lawrence) on Georgetown’s ROI analysis:

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Thanks for including the link to the Georgetown page. If you sort the schools by ROI, the worst ROI schools are art and music for the most part. Bennington is 50 from the bottom among 4529 schools.

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