A first of its kind report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) attempts to answer the question about whether a college degree is worth the investment. A first try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 colleges examines the short and long-term return on investment (ROI) for students attending America’s colleges and universities.
An online table of the colleges allows users to sort data on tuition, median student debt and median earnings for each institution. According to the table, The Citadel provides the best ROI in South Carolina when compared to the state’s other 11 public, four-year colleges and universities.
The Citadel’s ROI
A first try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges was created using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s expanded College Scorecard. The CEW’s report calculates the ROI in various stages of a graduate’s career.
The CEW lists each institution’s current ROI incrementally in the form of net present value (NPV), from 10 to 40 years after graduation. The NPV is how much a future sum of money is valued today.
The lessons South Carolina Corps of Cadets graduates learn as part of The Citadel experience compound over time, with the ROI listed as follows:
• 10-year: $133,000
• 15 year: $357,000
• 20 year: $560,00
• 30 year: $560,000
• 40-year: $1,197,000
Comparatively, Clemson’s ROI is listed as second: Coastal Carolina, third; and College of Charleston, fourth followed by Francis Marion. The full list of the state’s public, four-year institutions is ranked by CEW as follows:
1. Citadel Military College of South Carolina
2. Clemson University
3. Coastal Carolina University
4. College of Charleston
5. Francis Marion University
6. Lander University
7. South Carolina State University
8. University of South Carolina-Aiken
9. University of South Carolina-Beaufort
10. University of South Carolina-Columbia
12. Winthrop University
“This independent report helps highlight the long-term financial rewards for those earning a four-year degree at The Citadel,” said Sally Selden, Ph.D., dean and provost of The Citadel. “At a time when many institutions are seeing application numbers dwindle, The Citadel continues to see an increase. This demonstrates that the cadet experience, centered on leadership learning and academics, still resonates with many as a worthy investment.”
The institutions studied include those offering certificates (less than two-year), associates (two-year) and bachelor’s (four-year) degrees. Out of all 4,500 institutions studied, The Citadel ranks in the top 5 – 7% nationally for ROI over the long-term at 207 (40-year), 210 (30-year), 243 (20-year) and 303 (15-year) NPV.
A CEW press release explaining the research states that colleges awarding associate’s degrees and certificates show the highest ROI 10 years after enrollment. “Because these programs require fewer credits to complete, they leave students with less debt and allow them to enter the workforce sooner. In the long run, however, the returns of these programs fall behind those of bachelor’s degree-granting institutions because students’ earnings are lower.”
Why Georgetown’s report is making national news
The Georgetown CEW study is receiving broad national attention with related articles published by major news outlets such as Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Boston Globe, Business Insider, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Money and The Washington Post.
“There are many respected entities that provide college rankings based on scientific methodology. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce is the first to provide rankings reflecting what students get back for their investments, based on federally reported and vetted data,” Selden explained. “A long-term look at what they’ll get for their money is exactly what prospective students and their families are eager to discover before selecting a college and career pathway.”
More about The Citadel Return on Investment
The Citadel’s mission is to educate and develop our students to become principled leaders in all walks of life by instilling the core values of The Citadel in a disciplined and intellectually challenging environment.
The Citadel has been recognized as U.S. News & World Report’s #1 Public University in the South* for 9 consecutive years.
Other recognition from U.S. News & World Report:
#1 College in the south for veterans
#3 Best Value colleges in the south
#6 Undergraduate teaching college in the South
#6 Most innovative schools in the South
#21 Best Engineering School offering up to a master’s degree in the Nation