This is a guest post by Jim Farmer. Jim is Chairman of instructional media + magic.
Analysis of data recently released by PayScale Inc. and published in Bloomberg Business Week show starting salaries for graduates of Party Schools begin fifth of seven sectors moving up to third place by mid-career. Party Schools have a rate of salary increase exceeded only by graduates of Ivy League universities:
The data comes from 611,000 surveys completed as profiles on the PayScaleWeb Site.
PayScale also has data by college major and job title. This has been matched with data about U.S. colleges and universities from the U.S. Department of Education’s IPEDS surveys and colleges costs from the College Board. Bureau of Labor Statistics costs of living may also have been the source of data used for cost of living by city or state.
The rates of increase from starting to mid-career may be a better, though questionable, proxy for the quality of collegiate education.
These data could be cited supporting the view that graduates from Liberal Arts have lower starting salaries—bottom of the list—but increasing rapidly during their career.
These are aggregate statistics; the starting salaries and increases depend upon the individual student and student choices. PayScale offers disaggregated data for specific colleges and areas of study on their Web site (wwww.payscale.com). The data for an individual profile or specific college or university and area of study would be more reliable than the aggregated statistics given here.
Evaluating the value of higher education solely on the return of investment to the student may be limiting. Responding to these data, Pat Pike, interim provost and vice-provost for education at Biola University, writes: "If monetary Return on Investment (ROI) were the main purpose of education, most of us would make different career decisions. Biola's education is not primarily about money. If you calculated the ROI for the society of a Biola education, compared to the average, it would be huge. The services and benefits accruing to the nation and the world from Biola alumni far outweigh the cost of the Biola education. When you focus on the wider picture of the impact alumni make in their community and across the world to serve (primarily in nonprofit and service-oriented organizations), you have greater rationale to praise the value of Biola education." “Biola University is a nationally ranked private Christian university located in Southern California [LaMirada].”
Data for the tables was developed from PayScale data for 852 “most popular” colleges and universities. The data was prepared for Bloomberg Business Week and can be found at http://www.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/bs_collegeROI_0621.html