Highlights from Higher Ed: College Cost Benefits, MBA Pay Gaps, Spring Enrollment, Hope vs. Expectation

Jun 2, 2023

Most former college students say the financial benefits justify the cost

More than 50% of adults who attended at least some college believe the lifetime financial benefits of higher education justify the cost. According to a Financial Reserve study of economic well-being in U.S. households, 68% of respondents who earned a bachelor’s degree believe the benefits of the experience pay off, compared with 42% of those who had an associate degree, and 30% of those who had been to college but did not graduate. Those age 45 and older were also more likely to see the value of the investment. “That trend may reflect that older adults have had more time to see their college attendance pay off in earnings. But it could also be due to younger adults grappling with the rising use of student loans and increasing costs of higher education…Less than half of adults with outstanding student loans, 43%, said the financial benefits of college outweigh its costs.”

Source: Higher Ed Dive

MBAs benefit minorities and women, but pay gaps remains

Women and minorities with newly minted MBAs generally experience a 57% pay increase in their first job after earning the degree, but the non-minority men who graduate with them see their salaries jump 62%. As time goes on, the pay gap increases. Researchers questioned almost 1,500 individuals who received MBAs from more than 60 “elite” institutions about pay, promotions, leadership, and work-life balance to arrive at the findings. On average, men earn about 8% more than women in their first post-MBA job: $83,524 vs. $76,660. Minority women are paid the least ($74,353 on average), followed by non-minority women ($77,195), and minority men ($77,394). Non-minority men, on average, earn $83,564. “Men with MBAs earn on average $209,011 currently, compared to $173,070 for women. And, not surprisingly, the biggest gap remains between minority women who earn $161,580 on average and non-minority men who earn $208,847 – a gap of 23% ($47,267).”

Source: Poets & Quants

Outside of private and community colleges, Spring enrolled numbers declined

The National Student Clearinghouse reported that overall graduate and undergraduate enrollment declined 0.2% in the Spring semester, while enrollment in non-degree programs increased 4.8%. Public two-year and for-profit four-year colleges were the only categories to report an enrollment increase, which may be attributable to interest in non-degree offerings. “Non-degree offerings experienced a 14% gain at for-profits… Moreover, non-degree offerings at community colleges grew by 2.3%, contributing to two-year colleges’ first positive growth rate since spring 2020 (0.5%).” Bachelor’s enrollment only increased at for-profit institutions. Enrollment declined in every category of graduate or professional program, including post-baccalaureate certificates, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, first-professional degrees, graduate/professional certificates, and special non-credential programs.

Source: University Business

Many high schools students expect college to remain only a dream

Almost 75% of high school students want to go to college, but only 66% expect that to happen. The number who expect to attend community college dropped from 25% in 2019 to 20% this year. Generally speaking, college expectations were lower among minority groups: “68% of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students wanted to attend college, for instance, but only 58% actually expected to. And 73% of Hispanic or Latino students sought to enroll, but just 64% believed they would.” Asian students were the most likely to want to go to college (90%) as well as expect to go (85%). Female students tended to be more likely than males to want to attend college (83% vs. 68%) and to expect to enroll (77% vs. 57%).

Source: Higher Ed Dive


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