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Highlights from Higher Ed: Education ROI, International Students and MBA Price Tags

Anchors aweigh? A prescription for success? Some of the schools with top returns on investment may surprise you

A list of the top 10 colleges and universities that provide their graduates with the best return on investment, as measured by earnings, contains a few of the usual suspects, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. But it also features names that might surprise you, including Maine Maritime Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. According to a study conducted by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, each of the top three schools specializes in training students who will work in the fields of pharmacy and health sciences. In ascending order, they are: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. In general, researchers determined that, “the average graduate of a private four-year college has a net economic gain of $838,000 over 40 years — compared with $765,000 for a public college graduate.”

Source: The Washington Post

The decline in new international students continues

Although there were nominally more international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities during the 2018/2019 school year, the number of new international students dropped to a six-year low. Possible explanations include the high cost of a U.S. education, increased competition from schools in other countries and federal immigration policies that may be perceived as unwelcoming. According to the Institute of International Education’s recently released Open Doors report, there were almost 1.1 million international students in this country last year — just 507 more than in the 2017/2018 academic year. Community colleges, two-year programs and non-research universities experienced the biggest declines in enrollment.

Source: The Boston Globe

Should financial gifts from families influence admissions decisions?

Expressing his views in a Los Angeles Times opinion column, a Stanford Law School professor recently challenged “the erroneous view that family financial contributions have no place in the admissions process.” According to Ralph Richard Banks, a professor of law at the prestigious California institution, “In donating money with the hope that it will increase a child’s likelihood of admission, parents are doing precisely what schools have led them to believe they should do.” Banks’s argument is certain to further fuel the contentious debate about the connection between family wealth and admissions decisions that has gained new intensity in the wake of the “Varsity Blues” scandal. That terms refers to the recent arrests and convictions of affluent parents who illegally used their wealth to essentially buy their children’s way into schools that may not have otherwise accepted them. Banks does not excuse the behavior of law-breaking parents. Rather, he believes that “gifts from a small number of families can subsidize the education of other students and potentially increase the number of students from disadvantaged families that the school is able to enroll.”

Source: Los Angeles Times

Do you want to pay $200,000+ for an MBA? You now have more choices than ever

In 2016, there were only four schools in the United States where students could expect to spend more than $200,000 (including tuition, room-and-board expenses, fees and other costs) on a two-year MBA program. By last year, that number had climbed to nine. Now MBAs at 12 schools cost that much, and four more “are in the $190K range.” MIT’s Sloan School of Management offers the most expensive MBA program in the country, with an overall price tag $237,636. That amounts to a three-year increase of 18.2%. Rounding out the list of the top-five costliest MBA programs are: NYU’s Stern School of Business ($233,022), Stanford Graduate School of Business ($231,834), Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business ($230,080), and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania ($229,792).

Source: Poets & Quants