More On Value

July 10, 2012

adapted from Lafayette Magazine, Summer 2012

More on Value

Five years before I arrived as the VP for Communications, my son chose to attend Lafayette over another very fine liberal arts college. As a high school student, he was bright, and his academic performance showed it, but he was interested as much in hanging out as in studying. At Lafayette, my son Dan underwent a transformation, helped most especially by his adviser, who invited him to apply to the EXCEL Scholars program, and then by two emeriti professors, in their labs. These great professor-mentors helped Dan develop a passion for solving problems, working with others in cross-disciplinary teams, and writing his observations for publication in professional journals. Dan also experienced choral and a capella music, club volleyball, and admissions work. He landed a job immediately after graduation and embarked on a career and a way of living that makes it easy to see why the value of a Lafayette education is real to me.

But don’t take my word for it. In its College Salary Report this year, PayScale, the Seattle-based compensation data company, places Lafayette fifth in starting median salary among the nation’s liberal arts colleges. And this spring, Bloomberg Businessweek’s in-depth report on the value of a college degree places Lafayette 17th among 1,248 colleges and universities nationally, and 2nd among liberal arts colleges, in net 30-year return on investment. Lafayette’s personalized, “hand-tooled” education that crosses disciplinary boundaries pays handsome dividends. And of course, the value is not only in the salaries our graduates earn, but in the quality of life they enjoy.

A recent national survey commissioned by the Annapolis Group also shows that graduates of liberal arts colleges offer a strong and demonstrable yes to three big questions in the current discussion about higher education: Is it worth the cost? Does the residential learning experience matter? Does a college degree make a difference in the job hunt and career advancement?

As a parent of a graduate and a member of the college administration, I am proud to say that Lafayette and liberal arts colleges nationally continue to position themselves as an excellent value in higher education.

 

Robert J. Massa

Vice President for Communications