WBEZ | Morton Schapiro http://www.wbez.org/tags/morton-schapiro Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en What's a liberal arts degree worth nowadays? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/whats-liberal-arts-degree-worth-nowadays-101179 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3682_Cap and Gown_Flickr_Sea Turtle_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Doomsayers be damned: America&rsquo;s higher-education model, and its price tag, ain&rsquo;t broke. So says Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. In a <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-adv-glassnerschapiro-education-college-20120703,0,7560066,print.story" target="_blank">recent op-ed</a> for the <em>L.A. Times</em>, Schapiro and Lewis &amp; Clark College President Barry Glassner argue that the college premium &mdash; the ratio of college earnings to high school earnings &mdash; justifies the investment in higher education. Individuals with a college degree now make almost 85 percent more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma.</p><p>But statistics are tricky &mdash; while one economist opts to focus on the long-term returns, another is focused on the immediate future, which, for many recent college graduates, is bleak. More than 50 percent of bachelor&rsquo;s degree-holders under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed in the last year. So if and when a college graduate gets a job, he&rsquo;s likely to earn, on average, $20,000 more annually than a person with a high school diploma. But when the average student is graduating with $25,000 in student-loan debt, he or she might be a bit more focused on getting <em>a</em> paycheck, any paycheck.</p><p>This might explain why, as Ohio University economics professor <a href="http://www.ohio.edu/economics/faculty_staff/vedder.html" target="_blank">Richard Vedder</a> is quick to point out, there are 80,000 bartenders and 115,000 janitors with bachelor&rsquo;s degrees.</p><p>It&#39;s true, some majors pay more than others. <a href="http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp" target="_blank">PayScale</a> did a salary survey of the top college majors that lead to high salaries. You won&rsquo;t find liberal arts in the top 10 below &mdash; the classic course of study is about 75 down from the top of the list.</p><div><a href="http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp" style="font-weight: bold; color: #333333; font-family: Verdana,Arial,Tahoma,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 18px; text-decoration: none">Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary</a></div><table><tbody><tr><td style="vertical-align:top"><a href="http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp"><img alt="Degrees" src="http://www.payscale.com/staticdatachart.aspx?mode=Chart&amp;dataset=Pay You Back.2011&amp;title=Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary" style="border: medium none; width: 465px; height: 372px;" /></a></td><td style="vertical-align:top"><img alt="Degrees" src="http://www.payscale.com/staticdatachart.aspx?mode=Legend&amp;dataset=Pay You Back.2011" /><br /><b>Methodology</b><br />Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have 2 years of experience; mid-career have 15 years. See <a href="http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/salary-report.asp">full methodology</a> for more.</td></tr></tbody></table><p>The median starting salary for a liberal arts major is just under $38,000. And the mid-career average is just over $63,000 &mdash; so is a liberal arts education worth it? President Schapiro and Professor Vedder help provide a cost-benefit analysis on <em>Afternoon Shift</em>.</p><p>So what do you think: What&rsquo;s the value of a liberal arts education? Call <strong>(312) 923-9239</strong> or join the conversation on Twitter at #AfternoonShift.</p></p> Wed, 25 Jul 2012 13:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/whats-liberal-arts-degree-worth-nowadays-101179