7 thoughts on “College Degrees ROIs

  1. Patrick Ritchie

    Those ROI numbers wrong.

    They are calculating the cost of the diploma relative to the total income over a 30 year period.

    This only makes sense if you assume non-college grads make nothing.

    When trying to calculate the ROI you need to compare your expected salary with and without a degree. Assuming identical retirement ages, you would also need to add 4 extra years of salary for the non-college grad.

    A very quick back of the envelope calculation on their sociology degree numbers:

    Median income for HS grad: $28,900 (http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=77)

    Number is probably too low as it’s only for 25-34 year olds…

    Sociology degree, working as a corrections office: $39,630

    (39,630 – 28,900) * 30 = 321,900 – (4 * 115,600) = 206,300

    So if the Sociology degree cost more than $206,300 you would have been better off financially without it.

    1. Johnny B

      One also needs to take into account that, in some cases, work experience counts for more than education level when it comes to calculating salary. If one can get into a field where a degree is only recommended rather than required, they can get a 4-year headstart on salary increases, and end up making EVEN MORE in the long run than by waiting to enter the market for four years.

      This is especially important when it comes to calculating ROI on advanced degrees and on degrees gained as a “non-traditional” student; getting a bachelor’s and changing career paths mid-40s will put you far, far behind someone who got a bachelor’s in their 20s, and potentially even behind those who have no degree in the first place.

    1. wodun

      Yup, not a lot of demand for speech writers and the other professions listed need addition training beyond British Literature. Missing from their list are technical writers.

      I had an Anthropolgy teacher say how great the field was because Intel hired some small number of cultural anthropologists. Probably harder to land a job at Intel as an anthropologist than it is to play in the NBA.

  2. Thomas Matula

    Of course the issues with the ROI on the best degrees makes you wonder about the ROI on the worst degrees.

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