New economic research using data from the expanded College Scorecard shows that Albright College’s 40-year return on investment (ROI) ranks in the top 17 percent of more than 4,500 institutions across the country. Even after paying off debt, Albright College graduates reap a long-term net economic gain of $951,000, outpacing the median earnings of all 4,529 private, public and for-profit institutions included in the study.
Private vs public graduate earnings at 40 years
- Albright College = $951,000
- Private colleges median = $838,000
- Public colleges median = $765,000
- For-profit colleges median = $551,000
Released by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workplace, “A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges” compares college costs to net present value (NPV), weighing the costs of investing in college now against the potential gains over time.
“The present value of a future cash flow is the amount that must be invested today in order to have a specific amount at a specific future date, given the rate of return you expect to earn,” explains David Martin, D.A., emeritus professor of economics and business at Albright. “Simply stated, it is today’s value of a future cash flow. The net present value of an activity is the present value of all of the future cash inflows related to that activity minus all of the future cash costs related to that activity. It is the change in wealth that would occur if the activity is undertaken.”
“College is expensive, and as with all expensive investments, the potential return is a key consideration when choosing where to enroll and what to study,” say the study’s authors. “Potential students should consider how much it will cost to obtain a credential, and how much they could potentially earn with it.”
Short term vs long term economic value
Although, on average, students take out more than twice as much in loans to attend private colleges, the median annual earnings 10 years after graduation are almost $8,000 higher for alumni of private colleges than for alumni of public colleges. And in the long run, a private, nonprofit college degree is worth more on average than a degree from a public university.
- Community colleges and certificate programs have the highest short term ROI.
- Public colleges have higher short term ROI than private colleges.
- Degrees from private, nonprofit colleges, like Albright, have higher long term ROI than public universities
- Colleges that primarily award bachelor’s degrees, like Albright, have the highest long term ROI.
“One thing that makes Albright very different, is that we encourage our students to combine areas of study in order to gain deep problem solving skills that will take them confidently into any career — even, indeed, a lifetime of careers,” says Albright President Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82. “Essentially, this study shows the long term value of a liberal arts education in which students learn how to learn and develop the ability to think critically, in order to adapt to the challenges of any career.