Newly released tuition and salary data reveals just how much (or how little) your top-dollar education is worth

Colleges are for the first time disclosing student starting salaries vs. debt, by program and degree. You could make six figures with a biz degree from Bismarck State College -- way more than some elite schools.


November 25, 2019

The Education Department just published numbers on student debts vs. starting salaries for recent US graduates, broken down by degree and program. Some of the insights may have you shaking your highly educated fists at the tuition gods.

Many grads land with a pocket full o’ debt 

And those loans are outweighing starting salaries — sometimes by more than 2X. Ouch.

STEM grads from top B.A. programs are sitting the prettiest… but Ivy doesn’t mean everything. Shoutout to Bismarck State biz school grads, whose $100.5k starting salaries beat out many top dawgs.

Apparently, major/concentration does matter. For example, master’s grads coming out of USC’s highly ranked drama/arts program face a brutal $100k-to-$30k debt-to-income ratio. *Theater majors across the nation gasp, swoon, throw drinks in partners’ faces.*

To be fair, we don’t yet have data from other years, and many career payoffs take time to ramp up (what’s up, doc). Also, these numbers don’t account for geographic cost of living.

Regardless, this long-overdue reporting could help students make better choices

It should also encourage colleges to improve their ROI.

Even at four-year public colleges, in-state students face annual price tags, counting room and board, of over $20k. When you multiply that by four years and then try to tackle it with a ~40k salary… it makes you wonder whether it was worth it.

More symmetric info within the education market will hopefully stir up some healthy supply-side competition. It also may lessen the weight given to elite degrees, and erode the stigma of opting for vocational training… or playing hooky altogether.

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