The University of Scranton Ranked 22nd in Nation for its Contribution to Alumni Earnings

Nov 3, 2015
The Economist ranked The University of Scranton No. 22 in the nation, and as the second highest-ranking Jesuit university (following only Georgetown University at No. 16), for its impact on the earnings of its graduates.
The Economist ranked The University of Scranton No. 22 in the nation, and as the second highest-ranking Jesuit university (following only Georgetown University at No. 16), for its impact on the earnings of its graduates.

The University of Scranton ranks No. 22 in the nation for the impact it has on the earnings of its graduates, according to a first-ever ranking by The Economist, the well-respected international news publication. Following the premise that a “good student” would do well at any college, The Economist used regression analysis to measure the effect of an array of variables in order to determine the actual impact the college has on the earnings of a graduate.

The Economist measured The University of Scranton’s additional earnings impact to be $8,437 annually, ranking it No. 22 in the country, and giving Scranton the second highest rank of a Jesuit university, following only Georgetown University at No. 16. Scranton is the seventh highest ranked college in Pennsylvania.

According to The Economist, “the economic value of a university is equal to the gap between how much money its graduates earn, and how much they might have made had they studied elsewhere.”

For its ranking of 1,275 four-year, non-vocational colleges in the United States, The Economist supplemented data recently released in U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard with information about a college’s Catholic or Protestant affiliation, the “wealth of its state” and prevailing wages of its city, the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants and whether it is a liberal-arts college, among other factors.

According to The Economist, “85 percent of the variation in graduate salaries between colleges was explained by these factors” which they analyzed to determine a graduate’s “expected earnings.” The Economist then used the actual earnings data from College Scorecard to determine the difference – or earnings “contribution” – made by the college.

The ranking, published online Oct. 29, also included earnings data published in College Scoreboard based on tax filings 10 years after entering college for graduates who applied for federal loans. Scranton’s graduate median annual earnings were listed as $56,000.

The Economist included a caution regarding the limitations of the College Scoreboard information, noting the data only includes “individuals who applied for federal financial aid, restricting the sample to a highly unrepresentative subset of students that leaves out the children of most well-off parents.”

The Economist noted College Scoreboard only tracks “students’ salaries for 10 years after they start college, cutting off their trajectory at an age when many eventual high earners are still in graduate school and thus excluded from the sample of incomes. A college that produces hordes of future doctors will have far lower listed earnings in the database than one that generates throngs of, say, financial advisors, even though the two groups’ incomes are likely to converge in their 30s.” Such would be the case at The University of Scranton, with many of its graduates successfully pursuing careers in medicine and law.

The Economist also acknowledged that “maximizing alumni earnings is not the only goal of a college, and probably not even the primary one,” which was a common critique of College Scoreboard expressed by representatives of colleges and universities.

In addition, The Economist noted that their analysis only examines which colleges are likely to boost a students “future salaries by the greatest amount, given their qualifications and preferences regarding career and location,” cautioning that the rankings “should not be used for any other purpose.”

The University of Scranton has received consistent recognition for its economic value, as well as other measures of its contribution to fulfilling its Jesuit mission, such as service to others and scholarship. In addition to inclusion in numerous “value” rankings such as U.S. News & World Report’s “Great Schools, Great Prices,” MONEY magazine’s “Best Colleges for your Money,” and Forbes and The Center for College Affordability and Productivity’s ranking of “America’s Top Colleges 2015,” the Washington Monthly ranked Scranton No. 72 in the nation in its category for its “contribution to the public good” and No. 67 for community service hours of participation. Scranton is also among just 361 colleges in America achieving Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. In addition, The Chronicle of Higher Education has also listed Scranton among the “top producers” of Fulbright awards for American students for 10 consecutive years.

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