IR in the Know

  • IR In The Know
  • 02.20.20

ROI of Liberal Arts Colleges: Value Adds Up Over Time

  • by eAIR

Reports & Tools

Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce released a new report that ranks the return on investment of the 210 US liberal arts colleges. ROI of Liberal Arts Colleges: Value Adds Up Over Time finds that financial returns from liberal arts colleges start low but rise quickly. Forty years after enrollment, the median ROI for liberal arts colleges is $918,000, nearly $200,000 higher than the median ROI for all colleges. The most selective liberal arts institutions typically have higher returns on investment. The 47 most selective liberal arts institutions have a 40-year median ROI of $1.13 million, nearly as high as the returns from doctoral institutions with the highest research activity, at $1.14 million.

The Future of Work Demands High-Quality Education Beyond High School
This brief from the Lumina Foundation presents survey data that provides insight into the intersection of education and employment, and makes recommendations to better align education with the labor market. Findings show that just 53% of college students believe their major will lead to a good job, and only 43% percent of employers have a positive view of recent college graduates’ work ethic and professionalism. (Source: Lumina Foundation / PostsecData)

Character and the College Admission Process
This new report from NACAC presents findings from a survey designed to better understand the nature of any character development programs offered by secondary schools in the U.S., and to establish a baseline for tracking trends in how positive character attributes are considered in college admission decisions. About a quarter of the admission officers surveyed indicated that character attributes were considerably important in the selection process, while another 44% percent considered them to be moderately important in admission decisions. (Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) / PostsecData)

New Strategies Recommended to Promote Equity in Student Assessment
This article discusses a new report about culturally responsive assessment and related equity and assessment discussions. Authors of the report suggest that “socially just assessment” should be considered to examine how systems of power and oppression influence how students experience college, engage with the learning process, and build knowledge to create measurements to better assess student learning. (Source: Diverse Issues in Higher Education / PostsecData)

The First College Rankings Based on Grads’ Salary by Major Field
This article discusses the new college ranking system, launched by Optimal, that uses the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard data to rank colleges based on median earnings and debt levels by field of study. To be considered, schools had to have reported a median salary for graduates for a given degree program, and a manual search had to also confirm that a school had the specific degree program being ranked. (Source: Forbes / PostsecData)

10 Colleges Where Graduates Have the Most Debt
This article explores results from a survey on student loan debt and lists some of the institutions whose 2018 graduates had the highest average debt. Results reveal that the average borrower in the class of 2018 graduated with almost $30,000 in student loan debt, and the average among the 10 colleges whose graduates have the most debt was $51,507. The article also discusses the impact on student loans for those who do not graduate. (Source: U.S. News & World Report / PostsecData)

Poll Highlights Public Distrust of College Admissions 
This data highlights the public's distrust of college admissions, which surveys show persists nearly a year after the Varsity Blues scandal made headlines.

Colleges Must Support Generational Diversity 
As the workforce shifts to more technology-based jobs and people postpone their retirement years, the number of college students who are middle-aged or older is growing fast.

How States can Improve Access to Continued Education for Those in Criminal Justice System 
This report provides a comprehensive, state-by-state analysis of postsecondary education policy and practices, and identifies four fundamental “building blocks” that states should have in place to ensure that high-quality postsecondary education is readily accessible to currently and formerly incarcerated people.

A New Decade for Assessment: Embedding Equity into Assessment Praxis 
Achieving “equity-minded assessment” is the focus of a new report from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) that examines existing practices and recommends changes to address the needs of an increasingly diverse college student population.

Policy Watch

The Landscape of Performance-Based Funding in 2020 
In an effort to hold public colleges and universities more accountable for their outcomes, policymakers in many states have turned to performance-based funding (PBF), allocating a portion of state funds based on student outcomes, such as retention, completion, or post-college employment. States across the political ideology spectrum have enacted PBF systems, with more liberal states, such as California and New Jersey, and more conservative states, such as Oklahoma and Arkansas, included among PBF adopters.

The Accreditation Reform Act of 2020 
Too few students today have access to a quality, high-return college education, particularly if they come from historically marginalized communities. A student debt problem, persistent disparate outcomes by race and income, and those who prey on society’s most vulnerable populations for a profit are just a few of the urgent concerns. A new bill, the Accreditation Reform Act of 2020, aims to address some of these problems by targeting an unreliable part of the higher education system: the U.S. Department of Education’s oversight of accreditation agencies.

NCES Updates

The High School and Beyond Midlife Study
This NCES blog post recognizes research that has come out of the 2014-15 High School and Beyond (HS&B) Midlife Study and includes references to several articles about postsecondary education participation and attainment as well as labor force and health outcomes.

High School Longitudinal Study of 2009
This First Look report provides selected findings from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) Postsecondary Education Transcript Study and Student Financial Aid Records Collection (PETS-SR). HSLS:09 follows a nationally representative sample of students who were ninth-graders in fall 2009 from high school into postsecondary education and the workforce. The PETS-SR data collection was conducted between spring 2017 and fall 2018, approximately 4 years after high school graduation for most of the cohort.

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