New Data Challenges the Value of a College Degree

By Zachary Hill

New research has recently been issued that links college majors and the job market. The acronym “STEM” may be oversold, some short-term degrees receive higher salaries than bachelor’s degrees, and a flagship institution may not guarantee a higher salary. Eye-opening data has been released about the “S” in “STEM,” which stand for “Science.” Certain science majors, such as biology or chemistry, have starting salaries comparable to those of Sociology, Psychology, and English. On the other hand, engineering majors command tens of thousands more in average starting salaries. The fields of business and healthcare also command much higher starting salaries than those of biology and chemistry. Many people intend to major in chemistry or biology and continue on to be a doctor. However, if someone is stuck with a biology or chemistry degree, their average starting salary will take a severe hit.

Some short-term degrees command higher salaries than bachelor’s degrees. In Texas, Colorado, and Virginia, people who obtain certain two-year associate’s degrees such as technical associate’s and applied sciences actually earn more than those with a bachelor’s degree in those degree programs. In conclusion, some students who pay more tuition and fees to earn a bachelor’s degree end up having a lower starting salary than students who enrolled in a two-year program.

Enrolling in a university with higher tuition does not necessarily ensure a higher starting salary. Colorado State University’s flagship campus’s tuition is $7,494, while CSU’s Pueblo campus has a tuition rate of $4,894. However, the average starting salary of Pueblo students is slightly higher than that of CSU flagship campus’s students. In all states, engineering degrees command the highest starting salaries of any major. Students should carefully consider their choice of major instead of choosing a school based on reputation or sticker price.

The article can be found here:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/03/how-higher-education-pays/2755345/

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