Showing posts with label Preston Cooper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Preston Cooper. Show all posts

Friday, February 3, 2023

Will a degree from your public university pay off?

 Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says people with college degrees earn one million dollars more over their lifetimes than people who only get a high school diploma. You're nuts, then, if you don't go to college.

Unfortunately, Secretary Cardona's cheerleading pitch for higher education is only partially accurate. For example, people who attend for-profit colleges don't do so well. According to a Brookings report published a few years back, nearly half (47 percent) of the people who attend for-profit colleges default on their student loans within five years of beginning repayment (p. 48, table 8). And the overall five-year default rate is 28 percent.

We also know that thousands of academic programs don't pay off. Higher Education analyst Robert Kelchen compared student -loan debt to earnings for 45,000 educational programs and identified thousands where students left school owing more in student loans than their first-year salaries.

And more recently, the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity ( released a report on educational outcomes for students who attend public universities. Foundation researcher Preston Cooper found Return on Investment (ROI) varied widely among the states.

Students who studied at a public university in these five states had the highest median return on investment: South Dakota ($216,027), Minnesota ($214,923), Iowa ($214,105), Kansas ($180,770), and Pennsylvania ($167,442).

At the bottom end of the Return-On-Investment scale were public universities in these five states: Hawaii (negative $5,720), Louisiana ($18,246), New Mexico ($20,877), Montana ($24,909), and Connecticut ($38,979).

Living as I do in Louisiana and only two blocks from Louisiana's flagship university, I was startled to learn that Louisiana public institutions have the lowest median return on investment of any public university system in the United States, except Hawaii, which has a negative return on investment.

Of course, not all students graduating from a Louisiana public college will end up with a low return on their college investment. Engineering graduates from LSU will do fairly well, as well as nursing graduates. 

Colleges will never admit that they operate academic programs with poor financial outcomes. There's no warning sign on the door to the sociology department or the department of gender studies saying, "Ye who enter here are lost."After all, tenured professors teach in those departments, and they must lure at least a few gullible students to sign up for their loser programs.

Young people planning their college careers need to do their own research about the universities and academic programs they are considering. Don't be seduced by the colleges' glossy brochures--the ones that show pretty cheerleaders cavorting at sporting events and kindly professors instructing intense students on how they can cure cancer.

Before choosing a college and a major, ask yourself these questions. 1) How much will it cost?

2) How much money will I need to borrow, and how will I pay it back?

3) What's the monetary return on my college investment? 

If you don't ask those questions, you may wind up with a bogus college degree, a mountain of student debt, and no clear way to earn a middle-class living.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Columbia rolls out one-year master's program in data journalism that costs $147,000: An Ivy League school stoops to flim-flam

Columbia University is an Ivy League school with one of the top journalism programs in the country. Perhaps that is why Columbia thinks it can get away with rolling out a new one-year master's degree program that will cost students $147,000 (including living expenses).

Why would anyone invest $147,000 for a one-year program in journalism when the job market for journalists is shrinking and the annual median wage for journalists is less than $40,000?

Giannina Segnini, the director of Columbia's Cadillac program in data journalism, argues that the Trump presidency justifies both the new degree and apparently its cost:
Journalists are facing the challenge of covering one of the most unusual and unreliable governments in modern history: President Trump disseminates lies, twisted facts, and changes in policy in real time through his Twitter account . . . . Despite--or perhaps because of--all of this, investigative journalism is flourishing.
But of course it is the elite American universities that are disseminating lies, twisting facts, and changing policies to justify their obscene tuition prices. Thus far, the law schools have been the chief offenders. The average JD graduate enters a stagnant job market with $140,000 in student-loan debt. Law school tuition prices simply cannot be justified

Now a journalism school is getting in on the flim-flam game--pitching a degree in "data journalism" at an inflated price.

Of course anyone who falls for this pitch is a complete fool, and everyone knows that a fool can practice journalism without a master's degree from Columbia. 


Preston Cooper, Columbia University Uses Trump To Sell $100,000 Journalism Degrees,, August 10, 2017.

Nick Roll, $147,000 for a One-Year Master's? In Journalism? Inside Higher ED, August 11, 2017.

Giannina Segnini, Data Empowers Journalism Independence in Trump's Era, Columbia Journalism Review, August 3, 2017.