Estimated post-grad income now accessible to LC students
By PETER KRANITZ
ON SEPT. 12, THE White House debuted the College Scorecard, a new tool that helps students applying to college easily compare data between schools, and Lewis & Clark (LC) excelled in many categories.
The College Scorecard compares schools against the national average in a number of categories including graduation rate, average annual cost and median salary after attending. According to these statistics, the average LC graduate makes $43,400 per year, greater than the national average of $34,343 for college graduates. Fifty-five percent of LC graduates make more than $25,000 per year, the average income of a high school graduate with no college degree. LC has an above average graduation rate with 75% of students graduating in under six years.
However, the average tuition cost of $32,636 per year at LC is significantly higher than the national average cost of $16,789 per year. The Scorecard also features statistics about average debt and student body diversity, though does not include national averages for these categories.
According to Lisa Meyer, Dean for Enrollment and Communications, most of this data was already available on the school’s website and other online sources, and was mostly reported to the government by LC.
“This information is already out there, the Scorecard is just a new way of presenting it,” Meyer said.
Meyer indicated that it is too early to predict if it will have an impact on admissions, but expressed some concerns about the accessibility of the tool.
“Some families will likely find the Scorecard useful, but others may find that it does not have the information they’re looking for or does not allow for easy enough comparisons between schools,” she said.
Alvaro Torres (‘18) initially expressed concern about the financial prospects of graduates. Torres claimed that if he were presented with these statistics when applying to college, he would likely have more seriously considered other schools.
Torres concluded that the value of an LC education does not come from the money made after graduation but is derived instead from the quality of the liberal arts education.
“A wage only goes so far,” Torres said. “I’m getting educated and I’m getting this diploma not just for the money, but to learn how to survive in this changing society. [A liberal arts education] is about people finding their niche and understanding their passion in life instead of chasing money.”
Marco Palacios (‘19) agrees with Torres, and is mostly undaunted by LC’s numbers.
“This is a liberal arts school, and there’s probably a lot more students in arts or more niche fields than somewhere like a state school. It’s not surprising that students at a school like that would have a higher pay average.”
However, he added that the greater cost of LC is concerning.
“It’s kind of scary to think about. It seems like there’s definitely good education here, it’s the cost that’s troubling. It makes me think about whether I want to go into a field where there’s more jobs [instead of the music field].”
Despite this, he said that this information would not have greatly affected his college decision, and he does not expect it to have a significant influence on future applicants.
“One of the things that sets Lewis & Clark apart is the proximity to Portland,” Palacios said. “When I visited LC I vibed with the people. The community aspect is really important.”
Ultimately, the Scorecard will likely have little visible impact on LC in the future. Nevertheless, statistics like an initial annual salary are significant. For Marco Palacios, they made him think about his choice of major and his potential career options.
“In the end, I would have chosen this college anyway. I didn’t decide on this college not knowing that it would be expensive or that there would be risks. It’s definitely a great education and I’m going to try to take advantage of as much opportunity here as I can.”