Skepticism over the value of a college degree, especially one in the liberal arts, is common these days. Rising college prices, increasing levels of student debt, and a still weak job market all heighten doubts. Return on investment has become a popular research question, and a higher-education association released on Wednesday a report arguing that a liberal-arts major is a worthwhile choice.
In recent years, new data have helped paint a detailed picture of what college graduates earn. Analyses have focused on what they make by major, or by degree program at particular colleges.
On Wednesday the Association of American Colleges and Universities–a champion of liberal education–stepped into the fray with a report, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, that examines the payoff of a liberal-arts degree over the course of a career.