Brookings Institution Earnings Study Shows Value Added by Webster University Degree

| June 4, 2015

Completing a degree at Webster University doesn’t just transform a student for global citizenship and academic excellence — it also lays the groundwork for a successful career.

That’s the finding of a report by the Brookings Institution, released in April, that looked at the impact of colleges and universities from a different angle: By how much they can boost the mid-career earnings of their graduates.

According to Brookings’ formula and as reported in the St. Louis Business Journal (May 29-June 4 issue, page 8), Webster University offers the second highest value-add for graduates of all the colleges and universities studied in the St. Louis region.

Among the top five St. Louis universities, Webster had the highest “X factor,” a variable that considers concepts such as “reputation, alumni network and quality faculty” that play an unmeasured role in boosting earnings potential for graduates.

Methodology

According to the Brookings’ report introduction:

Popular rankings from U.S. NewsForbes and Money focus only on a small fraction of four-year colleges and tend to reward highly selective institutions over those that may contribute the most to student success.

Drawing on government and private sources, this report analyzes college “value-added,” the difference between actual alumni outcomes (like salaries) and the outcomes one would expect given a student’s characteristics and the type of institution. Value-added captures the benefits that accrue from aspects of college quality we can measure, such as graduation rates and the market value of the skills a college teaches, as well as aspects we can’t.

The value-added measures introduced here improve on conventional rankings in several ways. They are available for a much larger number of schools; they focus on the factors that best predict measurable economic outcomes; and they attempt to isolate the effect colleges themselves have on those outcomes, above and beyond what students’ backgrounds would predict.

See the Brookings Institution report and data here and view the Business Journal write-up of the top five in St. Louis here, on page 8.

Category: Webster in the News, Webster News

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