Majoring in Economics and Making Money

From Jonah Sinick at Cognito Mentoring: Here is a chart of median earnings for liberal arts majors when starting out (second column) and during their mid-careers (third column).

Student Loan Debt: Bad for the Economy

The Federal Reserve of New York released some numbers last week that show -- surprise! -- student loan debt is higher than ever. Sam Frizell at Time talks about how student loans aren't just bad for our own personal economies, they're bad for THE economy.

The $10,000 College Degree

If you could get a four-year degree for $10,000 or less, would you choose that option? In Florida, an increasing number of working adults are doing just that by getting their bachelor’s degree from places like Broward College, a former community college. It’s essentially a rebranding of the community college experience:

The FCS (formerly the Florida Community College System) has offered a small number of four-year degrees in fields such as nursing and computer engineering technology for about a decade. In Florida, associate’s degree graduates are guaranteed admission to a state university, and FCS baccalaureate programs honor this structure by requiring students to complete an associate’s degree before applying.

A College Rankings System Tied to Federal Funding

In an effort to get feedback on President Obama's plans to develop a federal college ratings system, the Education Department hosted the first in a series of public forums yesterday at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Starving on Campus

College students are known for being broke, heavily in debt, and surviving off of instant ramen, but there is also an invisible population of students who have "food insecurity"—not having enough to eat on daily basis. These students are often hidden because they feel ashamed about their circumstances.

Duke Says $60K Tuition Is a Bargain

In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it's $60,000 a year. "It's staggering," says Duke freshman Max Duncan, "especially considering that for four years." But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that's actually a discount. "We're investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student," he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it's one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.

The Intangible Value of a College Degree

When it comes to determining the value of a college degree, much of the conversation revolves around what a graduate's potential earnings will be after obtaining a degree, though not everyone works solely for money. So starting in the spring and for the next five years, polling agency Gallup and Purdue University will begin to survey 150,000 college graduates (30,000 at a time) to find out "how the graduates perceive the effect of college on their careers and quality of life."

Chasing Those College Rankings

Colleges say they don't really think too much about their U.S. News rankings, but of course that's not true. Whether or not those rankings matter is a whole 'nother discussion. Chicago Magazine examines the University of Chicago's recent dip in rankings (from 4 to tied to 5, behind Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia) and what the university has been doing to maintain its prestige.

Trying to Level the SAT Prep Playing Field

The SAT went back to its old 1600-point system this week (thank youuuu) and along with that announcement came news of an exciting partnership. The College Board and Khan Academy, which is a non-profit with the mission of "providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere," are teaming up to make test prep free and accessible on the web. Nona Willis-Aronowitz at NBC News reports

On Class and the Art History Degree

In light of Obama's recent comment about manufacturing vs. an art history degree, Tina Rivers, a PhD student who teaches a humanities class at Columbia required for all undergrads, wrote a thoughtful essay for The Toast defending the value of art history and the liberal arts.

When Public Universities Were Free or Affordable

Aaron Bady, a postdoctoral fellow at UT-Austin and cultural critic, has an editorial in Aljazeera America arguing why public universities should be free. Bady goes into the history of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, which was developed by the UC Regents and State Board of Education in the 1960s and noted that: "The two governing boards reaffirm[ed] the long established principle that state colleges and the University of California shall be tuition free to all residents of the state." Then, there was a clear cost distinction between public colleges and private colleges, which has become muddied today.

Lured to College Thanks to the Ability to Rent a Matisse

I've heard lots of reasons for why a students choose to go to specific colleges, but this is the first time I've heard someone say they chose to go to a school because they were trusted with priceless works of art to decorate their dorm rooms with (Oberlin College's Art Rental program began in 1940 and allows students to borrow art for $5; students line up more than 22 hours in advance for this privilege). There is also a student who says he decided to stay at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. instead of transferring to one of the Ivies because Lawrence hosts The Great Midwest Trivia Contest, a 50-hour Internet-broadcast trivia event held every January. At William and Mary, students love the Raft Debates, in which professors pretend they're stranded on a deserted island and argue why their discipline will save humanity (see this episode of This American Life). I chose my school mostly because it was affordable and had a good reputation, but if money weren't an issue, I suppose I would have taken these kinds of campus traditions and offerings into account.