22 January 2014

Before You Link to that IHE Article about the Success of Liberal Arts Grads...

"Liberal Arts Grads Win Long-Term" trumpets Inside Higher Ed. According to the front page of the website today, "Over the arc of a career, humanities and social science graduates earn as much or more than those in professional fields, new study shows, and are equally employed."

Except it doesn't and they don't (and aren't).

You don't even have click on short version of the study that the article is reporting (much less pay $20 to download a copy of the whole thing).  The information is right there in the article:

Liberal arts graduates don’t fare quite as well when they possess just an undergraduate degree, though. The workers with advanced degrees in any field of study – who make up about 40 percent of all liberal arts graduates, and earn about $20,000 a year more for it -- push the earnings averages up significantly. Among graduates with a baccalaureate degree only, those with humanities and social sciences degrees consistently earn less than anyone else, peaking at about $58,000 a year.
Got that?  Liberal arts graduates who go on to further study do better than non-liberal arts graduates. Liberal arts graduates who make their way through life solely on the basis of that BA/BS "consistently earn less than anyone else."  Isn't that pretty much what everyone thinks anyway?  And now there's a study to back it up.

There are good arguments to be made for the value of a liberal arts undergraduate degree. Misleading headlines like this one undermine them all.

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