Many are aware that Anderson University was recently included in a list regarding higher education return on investment compiled by PayScale.com and reported through AOL. The story, which positioned Anderson University near the bottom of the list, is based on a report compiled by PayScale.com. Anderson University is disappointed with this inclusion as it is apparent that PayScale.com arrived at their conclusions through statistically unreliable techniques, outdated sources, and misleading methodology. For example, any individual who completed education beyond their Anderson University degree, worked outside the U.S., or is self employed were excluded from the results. The report uses industry averages for compensation rather than actual salary levels of Anderson University alumni which are not publicly available.
[Photo: Anderson University students benefit from the university's unique position as an institution where academic inquiry is fully embraced in harmony with a Christian faith perspective.]
The following are a few questions and answers about the PayScale.com list: http://www.payscale.com/college-education-value
• What is the source of the salary data from which they derive the ROI?
Salaries are self-reported via an online questionnaire on the PayScale website that is designed to determine "what the individual should be paid." In other words, this data is not randomly compiled from official income sources (e.g., tax records), but rather comes from individuals who are completing the survey because they believe they are either under-paid or under-valued. View the methodology stated by PayScale.com at the following link: http://www.payscale.com/education/compare-college-costs-and-ROI
• How many individuals completed the survey?
There is no way to know if just a few Anderson University alumni responded to the questionnaire or if the list represents a broader cross-section. As stated above, any individual who completed education beyond their Anderson University degree, worked outside the U.S., or is self employed were excluded from the results.
• Is the PayScale list current?
No it is not. Despite calling this a 2012 survey, PayScale calculated ROI using 2008-09 financial aid data.
• How does the questionnaire account for institutional change?
PayScale acknowledges that “if the character of a school's graduates has changed substantially in the last 30 years" their measure of wage inflation may be inaccurate. Anderson University's academic programs have changed significantly during the past 30 years.
• Can Anderson University graduates get good jobs?
Yes. Anderson University has positive placement results: Anderson University's 2011 class had a 96% placement rate (employment and grad school) within 6 months of graduation. This compares to an 85.6% national placement rate as reported by the National Association of Colleges & Employers. Among alumni who pursue graduate studies, 31% pursue graduate arts and sciences, 29% pursue graduate business, 20% pursue medicine, 14% pursue graduate theological/seminary, and 6% pursue education.
The values that Anderson University delivers through more than 65 majors and five graduate programs are well worth the investment. Each year, we graduate servant leaders who are individuals of excellence, integrity, generosity, and responsibility. A truer measure of ROI would take into account not only the financial payoff of a college degree, but the satisfaction one gains from a meaningful life of faith and service. In short, we don’t believe that how much money our graduates earn is an accurate indicator of how they impact the world and make it a better place.
Your turn to respond
If you would like to share a response from your own experience, we invite you visit www.ouraustory.com. A topic has been opened for this very purpose. How does your AU education impact your life today? Was it worth the investment? Please respond here: www.ouraustory.com/how-do-you-measure-success/.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.