Whether or not you believe that the median debt to median earnings ratio presented by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is the only way to review the return on education investment, the graphic representation of law schools’ debt to earnings ratio below is sickening.
Cost of a Degree
As a follow-up to my recent post about graduates from master’s degree programs and their related debt and post-graduation income, I decided to dive more deeply into the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) database.
On July 8, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published Melissa Korn’s and Andrea Fuller’s article, “Financially Hobbled for ‘Life’: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off.” The article opened with the example of recent film program graduates of Columbia University who took out federal loans and had a median debt of $181,000. If the debt load incurred for their degrees wasn’t bad enough, Ms. Korn and Ms. Fuller reported that two years after graduation, half of those student loan borrower graduates were making less than $30,000 a year.
On the cover of the July 2021 Journal of Accountancy (a publication of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants or AICPA) is an illustration of a few multi-colored college graduation caps along with the headline and subtitle: “Education expenses – Expert discusses student loans, savings tips, and making plans in a changing environment.” The cover article, a question-and-answer interview of college planning expert Ross Riskin by senior editor Dave Strausfeld, seems timely given that many college tuition bills are sent out around July 1 each year.
In an opinion piece published in Newsweek last week, Ms. Neetu Arnold wrote that the federal student loan system isn’t worth it for students or taxpayers. Ms. Arnold notes that President Biden has not provided for debt forgiveness of student loans in the latest White House budget proposal, despite promising to do so when he was campaigning for President. Subsequent to the publication of her opinion piece, the Department of Education announced on June 16 that it was going to forgive $500 million in loans for 18,000 former students of the ITT Technical Institute.
The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has collected data on state support for higher education for more than 10 years. The final report for fiscal year (FY) 2020 was just issued.
Last week, Higher Ed Dive reporter Natalie Schwartz published an article about a new online bachelor’s degree offered by Southern Utah University for $9,000.
In a recently published research paper, “Priced Out: What College Costs America,” National Association of Scholars Research Fellow Neetu Arnold examines three issues in U.S. higher education: inflated tuition, continuously expanding administrative positions, and increasing levels of student debt. She also shows how they join and reinforce each other to the detriment of America.
Longtime Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino wrote an article last week discussing a proposal in Florida’s legislature to cut public scholarship funding to college students majoring in areas of study that do not have an immediate path to employment after graduation.
During the Democratic primary campaign for President, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders made no secret that they wanted to forgive student loan debt. Since President Biden’s election, both senators have called on President Biden to discharge student loan debt, which collectively stands at $1.7 trillion.