Thursday, November 5, 2015
Wall Street Journal, Parents’ Fears Confirmed: Liberal Arts Students Earn Less:
For the first time, government data back up what some parents have long suspected: Students who choose elite liberal arts colleges don’t earn as much money early in their careers as those who attend highly selective research universities.
The disparity, determined by a Wall Street Journal analysis of the data, means that some liberal arts colleges may face tough questions about the potential payoff of their expensive tuition.
The Journal compared median earnings 10 years after students enrolled at the most selective liberal arts colleges in the country to median earnings for students at the most selective research universities. The Journal analyzed salary figures for the top 50 schools in each category that had the highest average SAT scores [search data on individual schools here]. Those Ivy League schools, selective state colleges and other national universities compete with liberal arts colleges for the many of the same highly qualified applicants.
At nearly half of the top liberal arts colleges, the reported median salary 10 years out was below $50,000. (The government didn’t release the underlying data necessary to calculate an overall median salary for those schools.) Students at almost all of the top research universities beat the $50,000 mark, while at about a third of top research universities they had median salaries above $70,000.