Come Up Short? Explore the Reverse Transfer

smoked sausages


Come Up Short? Explore the Reverse Transfer

Normally in this space I write to an audience of would-be college students, high school upper classmen and others who seek to embark on the college path for the first time. Yet increasingly I run into, hear from, and read about the dropouts- former students who didn’t quite attain a degree for one reason or another.

Unfortunately, dropping out has become the norm, not the exception. For many the short-lived college experience can seem like such a waste; it’s back to square one with little to show except the ability to check the “some college” box on job applications and a trail of student debt. As we’ve seen previously those who have college credits but no degree have some earnings advantages over those who obtained no education beyond high school but have been largely in the same boat in terms of wage declines in this job market. What to do with a handful of college credits but no formal degree?
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Find Money for Certain Studies


Find Money for Certain Studies

While most grant and scholarship money gets awarded to students for who they are or what they have done, there also exist pools of money available on the basis of what a student plans to do. Specifically, students with set plans to major in certain fields can look for money from organizations hoping to encourage certain career paths. Continue reading Find Money for Certain Studies

Chart: The Sliding Scale(s) of Graduate Earnings

earnings at 25th & 75th percentile


Chart: The Sliding Scale(s) of Graduate Earnings

Our chart comes to us from a treasure trove of college-related statistical breakdowns from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The report, titled “What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors” was compiled by Anthony P Carnevale, Jeff Strohl, and Michelle Melton. They have also offered a less onerous set of select findings which includes today’s chart.

In this week’s chart we can yet again see the very real danger of relying on the flaw of averages to gauge the payoffs of a college degree. For instance, the generally true adage “college graduates earn $1 million more over a lifetime than high school-only graduates,” makes racking up enough debt to swing a hefty private school tuition seem like a no-brainer.  However, as this handy chart shows, this only tells part of the story; graduate earnings vary quite widely based on majors/programs and within employment groupings. Continue reading Chart: The Sliding Scale(s) of Graduate Earnings

Chart: Assessing a More Probable ROI

Chart: Assessing a More Probable ROI

Probability of Entering Financial Distress


This information comes to us from an academic research paper titled “Dropouts, Taxes and Risk: The Economic Return to College Under Realistic Assumptions.” The authors, Alan Benson of the University of Minnesota and Raimundo Krishna Esteva and Frank Levy of MIT, sought to pick up on factors that mainstream data crunchers miss.

Specifically, most prevalent calculations dealing with “return on investment” (ROI) payoffs of a degree infer a series of best-case assumptions, specifically 100% student graduation rates, graduations after four years, and equal tax liabilities. But what are the returns according to more modern, realistic assumptions?

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Chart: Wage Declines by Education Level

Declining Wages by Degree Type


Chart: Wage Declines By Education Level

This chart comes to us via a brief post by Elise Gould of the Educational Policy Institute (EPI), a labor-oriented Washington, D.C. think tank. In this chart we get some corollary information to augment our understandings of the economic benefits of a degree, usually stated in terms of mean wages. We know by now that those with a degree typically make more than those without, and that certain degrees pay more than others. Here we get some idea of the impact a degree, or lack thereof, can have in a declining wage market.

Continue reading Chart: Wage Declines by Education Level