What’s the Value of a Bachelors Degree?
I say not much at all. I thank grade inflation for some of it. I thank the over supply of bachelor degrees in the workplace for the other.
The oversupply is easy to understand. When there are more people with bachelors degrees in the workplace, they are less scarce, seems obvious. The Law of supply and demand dictates, that if a product (degree) is less scares then it’s value drops, in this case the wage of the worker.
From NACE, Spring Salary 2010 Survey: (It’s gated, so you might have to consult the Oracle of Google)
Starting salary offers to the college Class of 2010 are down compared to last year at this time, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
The Spring 2010 issue of NACE’s Salary Survey shows the overall average salary offer to a bachelor’s degree candidate is $47,673, which is 1.7 percent lower than the average offer of $48,515 made to Class of 2009 bachelor’s degree candidates.
Graduates earning liberal arts degrees may be the hardest hit by the effects of the recession: Currently, their average salary offers remain well below last year’s levels—8.9 percent lower at $33,540.
It’s not all bad news, Computer Science majors saw their salaries increase “by 4.7 percent, bringing it to $60,426.” I’d say that has more to do with demand being high than anything else. Also, the other majors with increases are the “harder” majors anyway, those with a high demand of math, which is hard to grade inflate away. (Math being one of the few subjects that is almost completely objective)
So why the big decrease in Liberal Arts majors? Well for one, they aren’t in demand. Why? Because they are worthless. A note on my personal bias, I’m a chemistry major so I have always seen Liberal Arts as the “can’t do anything hard, so I’ll get an art or english degree.” I know it’s wrong, but old habits are hard to break.
I still think that my opinion that Liberal Arts degrees are worthless, does have basis in reality. They are easier than science degrees, at least in the objective sense. They are more subjective, and therefore lead to be more apt to suffer from grade inflation. It’s a lot easier to give a C English paper an A, than it is to give a biology student that doesn’t know the what DNA Pol II does in a genetics class.
It would be interesting to see a trend line of the data. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere, I just don’t have the time to search for it right now. Unless anyone knows of a link they can send me.
So what does this mean really? Well if your an engineer of some kind, that bachelors is still worth something. So if your starting school, an engineering or computer degree is you best bet. If you plan on majoring in any other field, bad news…that bachelors isn’t worth jack. If your a biology major and want to make a decent living, consider medical, nursing, dental or pharmacy school. Maybe even graduate school. Business majors, your better off going for an MBA. Liberal Arts majors, I think your screwed. Even a Ph.D., will not guarantee you a good salary. But don’t fret, they are doing their best to subsidize you.