The ROI at Liberal Arts Institutions
Carnevale, Anthony P.
Van Der Werf, Martin
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The value of a liberal arts education has come into question as more students are opting for undergraduate degrees with direct connections to the job market. In response to demand, some liberal arts colleges have cut programs in traditional liberal arts fields and created programs in career-oriented fields like business. Despite these efforts to attract more students, some small liberal arts colleges have closed or are in danger of closing. In this report, the authors point out that the liberal arts colleges’ median return on investment (ROI) 40 years after enrollment is $918,000. That puts the ROI at these colleges just below the ROI at universities with the two highest levels of research activity.