Much has been made about the increasing cost of higher education recently, and some have even questioned the value of getting a college degree. At Oregon State, we point to some very tangible things that show not only the value of a college degree, but specifically earning it at Oregon State:
VALUE: The Fiske Guide to Colleges recently named Oregon State a ‘Best Buy’ school. Fiske has designated 41 such institutions—20 public and 21 private—as Best Buys. All of the Best Buy schools fall into the inexpensive or moderate price category, and most have four- or five-star academics ratings.
As the only ‘Best Buy’ school in the State of Oregon, we are showing not only affordability but quality. Along with that, the $140 million in new scholarship funding is helping our students achieve their academic goals. Add to that some 3,000 Oregon residents that benefit from Oregon State University’s ‘Bridge to Success‘ program (which pays full tuition and fees from state, federal and institutional sources), and getting that college degree is within reach.
EXPERIENCE: As Oregon’s leading public research university (over $281 million in earned research dollars), Oregon State is in the unique position to provide incredible research and internship opportunities for its students. Some 2,000 undergraduate students participate in funded research annually at Oregon State with access to world-class facilities like the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, the Linus Pauling Science Center, Forest Research Laboratory as examples, and research centers such as Center for Latino/Latina Studies and Engagement, the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute and the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing.
Another thing: Internships=jobs. At Oregon State, the chance for students to find opportunities and be career-ready once they graduate is everywhere but none more visible than the MECOP/CECOP internship program in the College of Engineering where students have two paid internship opportunities before graduating. All of these experiences at Oregon State lead to….
RESULTS: A recent study by Payscale.com showed that Oregon State graduates enjoy higher mid-career earnings on average than any other college or university in Oregon. And our graduates exceed national averages on professional certification exams and admission to graduate and professional programs (medical, veterinary, etc.). From the Provost’s Report:
Performance of OSU students continued to be excellent in professional certification exams:
Engineering—93 percent on Fundamentals of Engineering exam (national average 79 percent)
Exercise Science—67 percent on national athletic training association exam (national average 52 percent)
Nutrition—92 percent on American Dietetic Association exam (national average 82 percent)
Pharmacy—first time pass rate above 97 percent over the past five years, ranking us among the top 20 percent of all professional programs
Veterinary Medicine—100 percent on North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (national average 95 percent)
Accounting—63 percent on Unified Certified Public Accounting exam (national average 41 percent)
Acceptance rate for pre-medical students from OSU was over 77 percent, with students accepted to Oregon Health and Sciences, University of Southern California, University of Michigan, University of Washington, Dartmouth, University of Wisconsin and others.
Which brings us to the question of if a college degree is really worth it…Georgetown University recently published a study that showed the rates of unemployment during the most recent economic downturns. The results?
Jobs that require bachelor’s degrees have been the big winner, increasing by 2.2 million jobs since the recession began. Those jobs that required some college or an associate’s degree declined by 1.8 million in the recession but have regained 1.6 million of those job losses since the recovery began in 2010. At the same time 5.8 million jobs for those with high school or less have been lost since the recession began.
We encourage you to use these messages about the value of college to your students. While we hope that students find Oregon State a good fit, we want them to know that higher education is worth the investment.