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Old 06-24-2011, 04:08 PM   #21
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I don't know how carefully these people researched the incomes before they started taking loans. My experience is that even if they tried, they couldn't get much useful information.

When the first guy was applying to Kettering, did they send him a salary report? I'm imagining:

"Of the XXX grads in EE last spring, xx% have jobs that require their degrees. Their 25th and 75th percentile incomes are __ and __. The others include yy% who are unemployed, zz% who are back in school, and ww% working at jobs that don't require their degrees (and their incomes are .....) "

This is information that the student can't get anywhere except from the college, and which could make a lot of difference on critical decisions like whether to invest $KKK thousand in a college degree, which major to pick, and whether borrowing makes sense. But, AFAIK, colleges just don't want to provide it.
Do colleges actually have this information? I've earned 3 degrees from different institutions and I never reported to them where I went to work or what I made.
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:26 PM   #22
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Do colleges actually have this information?
They get it from Google.
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:44 PM   #23
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My university definitely communicated major specific starting salaries to undergraduates. I used this information to help guide my major choice. They also had a job placement office, career counseling, and held a job fair with corporate recruiters at the start of every year. Securing a job upon graduation was not complicated, if one tried.

A motivated student can get a 4 year degree in 3 years. This can be more valuable than choosing an inexpensive school. Save a year of tuition AND get a year of salary.

I went the 3 year route. My experience was that AP credits make it trivial, including at a competitive university. On top of a major switch after my first year, I even had a term where I took one less class than a full load, because I would have enough credits anyway. Who wants to do extra learning with no reward, after all

Alternatively, my university allowed a full time student to take an extra class each term at no additional cost. I knew one student that used this to earn their masters degree within the 4 years one would typically spend on their BS or BA. A few others I knew were able to dual major in music and engineering as a result. Yes, they worked HARD, but they also got to pursue their passion with a solid backup plan.

It comes down to the drive of the individual. The ones who have their act together and come out of college with little debt, they were probably going to succeed anyway. The ones who bury themselves and then cry victim...
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:06 PM   #24
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I think it would be far better to advise our kids to find something they're good at, there's a market for, and that they can find fulfilling, and pursue that. Keep their "passions" as their hobbies.
The problem with that advice you can see all about you on this forum. People don't follow their passions and end up stuck for their working lives in jobs they hate. Vocational education isn't for everyone.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:38 PM   #25
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Do colleges actually have this information? I've earned 3 degrees from different institutions and I never reported to them where I went to work or what I made.
Sorry, I meant "This is information the colleges should have."

I believe that if you got a job through the college's placement office, the employer might have reported the salary even if you didn't.

But, I really meant that colleges should be expected to survey all their grads xx months after graduation and ask about jobs and salaries. With so many families pushing hard to come up with the money for college, this seems like a basic "Truth in Education" requirement.

I saw an article in the last few months (NY Times maybe?) about the job market for new lawyers. Lots of people not getting jobs or not getting the salaries they expected. One point was that colleges that were promoting excellent job results were fudging the numbers one way or another. I think to make this work (specifically to get them to be honest about grads who don't find jobs), it would probably need to be tied to government money. As in, you have to provide this information to every student who gets a federally guaranteed loan.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:41 PM   #26
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My university definitely communicated major specific starting salaries to undergraduates. I used this information to help guide my major choice.
Neat. Any idea on how they got the information? Care to share the university name? Did you consider more than one school and find this was common? (It's been a decade since my youngest was a freshman, so maybe things have changed since then.)
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:03 PM   #27
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Student lending regulations need to be updated. Universities need to keep at least 1/2 of the total loan on their books, so if a graduate doesn't pay back the loan they are the losers. How long would it take for this excess student debt problem to become "less excessive"?

College: so son, what do you want to study?

Applicant: I dunno. Liberal arts, I guess.

College: Our tuition is $25K and the total 4 year cost is over $200K. How much you got?

Applicant: Uh, I'm looking to borrow

College: Next!
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:27 PM   #28
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+1. Parents should share some of the blame too for letting their kids follow their "passion".
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I think a big part of the problem is that kids are lied to in their youth. They're told they can "be anything they want to be," and they must "follow their dreams," no matter what. So you get kids following that advice, and spending $12,000/year studying art history (their "passion"), only to find that nobody is impressed.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:50 PM   #29
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Student lending regulations need to be updated. Universities need to keep at least 1/2 of the total loan on their books, so if a graduate doesn't pay back the loan they are the losers. How long would it take for this excess student debt problem to become "less excessive"?

College: so son, what do you want to study?

Applicant: I dunno. Liberal arts, I guess.

College: Our tuition is $25K and the total 4 year cost is over $200K. How much you got?

Applicant: Uh, I'm looking to borrow

College: Next!
Looks good to me. Simple and effective.
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:13 AM   #30
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Since you mentioned Chem E I wonder if you are in the hydrocarbon biz of some sort. Salaries in that field are mind blowing (from my perspective) and the salaries of the professors at my alma mater are maybe a good indicator of market value - the ChemE's get roughly 2x the salary of the civil E professors.
I am in the chemical/gas side of chip making, used to be in telecom. Thanks for taking the time to update me. I must admit I am quite saddened to see eng jobs being paid this way, but with all the outsourcing and manufacturing that has moved offshore and the weak economy, I guess it should not be a surprise. Although I am a EE, early in my career I moved to the business side of things. I still wonder about what would have happened had I stayed on a technical track.
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:50 PM   #31
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Unfortunately the US of A. Must be a regional thing (southeast). I'm talking mostly folks with a civil engineering background, although there are other types (industrial, computer/electrical, etc). Not saying $55,000 is a great salary for these folks, just some are stuck with what they have, pay cuts, stagnant wages, etc. Some work for the government.

I know this seems like a strange concept for some on the board who work in high tech high demand fields and have done really well, but there really are a lot of people out there making less than $75,000 a year even ten years out of engineering school. And of those that I know, that is the rule, not the exception.
This study summarizes data from the American Community Survey, which surveys hundreds of thousands of people. The authors only selected people who were working full-time, year-round. http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi...h-complete.pdf

I pulled data from page 114 for a couple popular engineering categories:

Electrical Engineering 60,000 85,000 110,00
Civil Engineering ____ 57,000 78,000 103,000

The numbers are 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile earnings. So this says about 25 percent of the engineers in these categories are earning less than $60,000.

I don't think the survey narrowed this to people whose jobs are a straight line connection to the degree. Some of the low salaries could be people who dropped out of engineering, some of the high salaries could be people who have moved into general management etc.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:27 PM   #32
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Do colleges actually have this information? I've earned 3 degrees from different institutions and I never reported to them where I went to work or what I made.
i don't mind sharing mine, as i was looking at it just last week. If you google career center + institution name, the career center home page popped up and even had this bit of information.

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Supply parents with the information and materials to encourage their sons' and daughters' exploration of career possibilities and the development of lifelong career success skills, from the first day on campus, through graduation, and into the early days of an exciting career.
nonetheless, here is the salary information from my college (and i actually view it every year or so).

http://careers.mines.edu/Files/2009-...0(updated).pdf

I do think these kids in the article absorbed a gross amount of debt based on a thought of entitlement. getting any old college degree isn't like rounding second in the game of becoming a CEO. the unfortunate thing is, most students have a gross misunderstanding of the real world, what people actually make opposed to how they act/say they make and their real value in society.

also, these statistics can be very deceiving. law school is a perfect example. they'll report they have an average starting salary of $80k. so, what does that say? most people think, if i do ok and am just average and get through law school, i'll be making $80k. wrong, no one actually starts making $80k. There are people who are way over and even more people who are way under that average. seeing the actual distribution helps.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:37 AM   #33
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If you google career center + institution name, the career center home page popped up and even had this bit of information.
I never thought of doing that, but tried it.

Here's the information from Texas A&M University, where I got my BSEE:

Survey Results for Texas A&M University Post Graduation Plans <br />Fall 2010 (Generated 02/11/2011)

It doesn't have complete salary information for all grads, or even most of them, though.

I recall just before graduation, as we were all standing there in caps and gowns, the head of the electrical engineering department came by with a clipboard and asked each of us in my graduating EE class what job and salary we had accepted. I guess the department kept its own statistics as well, or maybe supplemented those collected by the career center.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:59 AM   #34
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When I was in college in the early 1980s, I recall hearing a joke (maybe from Jackie Mason) about choosing a major and its job prospects upon graduation:

"Philosophy majors.......they can't get jobs.......but at least they know why!"
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:19 AM   #35
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My law school on the other hand...well, we will see how the job interviews go.
And that's where you went so wrong.... Did you at least sit for the patent bar exam?
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:20 AM   #36
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+1. Parents should share some of the blame too for letting their kids follow their "passion".
I'm all for loving what you do for a living. However, how is an 18-year old college student supposed to know what s/he loves to do before doing it? There are majors that will give a college student a solid education that can be applied to dozens of fields. Good examples are business administration, accounting, finance, mathematics, biology, physics, etc... These are all generally rigorous majors that provide a fundamental understanding of the basics of a particular field, but which don't lock someone into a particular career right out of school. Conspicuously absent are majors like history, art, philosophy, gender studies, English, etc... While intellectually stimulating, they simply aren't practical in today's competitive marketplace. If someone wants to "minor" in them, I'm all for it.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:48 AM   #37
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I never thought of doing that, but tried it.

Here's the information from Texas A&M University, where I got my BSEE:

Survey Results for Texas A&M University Post Graduation Plans <br />Fall 2010 (Generated 02/11/2011)

It doesn't have complete salary information for all grads, or even most of them, though.

I recall just before graduation, as we were all standing there in caps and gowns, the head of the electrical engineering department came by with a clipboard and asked each of us in my graduating EE class what job and salary we had accepted. I guess the department kept its own statistics as well, or maybe supplemented those collected by the career center.
Your data is from the fall of 2010 which wasn't too good a time to be graduating with an engineering degree. Texas A&M is definitely one of the better engineering schools and is a bargain compared to many other schools. I have never heard of any company paying a premium for people from any specific university. Some schools get slightly higher offers than others (like MIT) but that difference disappears within 3 years of graduation.

I'm more familiar with chemical engineering salaries. I have heard that the current graduates are getting $80 - 85K right out of school. As an old fart I am being paid considerably more.

As for all this student debt discussion, the debt is taken on for "lifestyle." Students and parents want their children to go to the prestige university. They want to live comfortably and enjoy spring break. They never think about what happens when that debt must be paid back.

I worked my way through college with help from grants, loans and scholarships. I never spent my loan money which I was forced to take with my grants. It was sitting in the bank when I graduated. I paid my student loans off within the first year after graduation. I didn't do it right away because it was my "emergency fund." I believe that a committed student can work, keep their grades up and make enough to pay for a reasonable state school education.

People graduating with burdensome debt are victims of self-inflicted wounds.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:02 PM   #38
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People graduating with burdensome debt are victims of self-inflicted wounds.
+1

I never borrowed any money for college, either in a student loan or from my parents. I worked several jobs while going through, instead, and paid my own room, board, books, and tuition for both undergrad degrees. I chose the schools I attended because they were cheap and nearby. I had assistantships in grad school so tuition was waived and I earned enough to live on.

Tuition today is higher and books cost more, but I still see little reason for a college student to borrow too much more than the cost of tuition and books. It seems like those who that borrow several hundred thousand more than that, just because they can, may be shooting themselves in the foot.

At the time I attended Texas A&M, the chemical engineering department was new and extremely small. As far as I know it may still be small and the salaries listed may not be typical.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:20 PM   #39
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The concept of having to take out loans for college is a choice that does not need to happen with planning.

Never saved a dime for my kids college -- But also never planned to make kids borrow for college or borrow ourselves for their college....

We always adjusted our lifestyles and made choices so that we could live on ONE income.
Smaller house, not as nice of cars, etc etc.
One spouse ( DW ) was in and out of the workforce as the kids allowed her to be based on their needs...... The idea was that when old enough to attend college that the 2nd income would pay for the college costs on a "as you go" basis.

We did one better -- When oldest was approaching HS senior year we found a high dollar private college locally that charges about $800+ per credit hour and DW applied to work there , taking ANY job (since moving up a couple times) ----- Big Benefit to employees is 100% tuition remission so kids both get to attend nice college tuition free and oldest is now in her senior year at college and has ZERO debt and is now working as an intern at a bank as an auditot to boot! Second child just began College Freshman year summer courses and is right on same track.

Wife's income is used for college books, vacations and additional savings.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:21 PM   #40
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Neat. Any idea on how they got the information? Care to share the university name? Did you consider more than one school and find this was common? (It's been a decade since my youngest was a freshman, so maybe things have changed since then.)
The data came from student surveys run at graduation. Being self reported, it is probably prone to some sort of bias. For me, it was the relative numbers that mattered. Here's a copy of the results from 2005:

http://www.northwestern.edu/careers/...chool_MEAS.pdf

It seems they moved to posting it on facebook...
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