Want a better return on your college investment? Choose your major wisely

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    June 17, 2013 12:39 p.m.

    This article does seem to suggest the faulty conclusion that having the appropriate degree will make one financially successful. Any major can be made to work, if the student is practical and savvy, and if they are willing to accept the lifestyle that major pays for. Many studies, including the ones used for Millionaire Next Door set the threshold quite low--at around $30,000/yr to live financially secure. I know many artists, musicians, and historians that are doing quite well, though they may not be rich. Everyone seems to focus on how much a person makes, but the real question is how much a person spends. The vast majority of NFL players are bankrupt within 5 years of retirement. Meanwhile, teacher from our neighborhood retired a millionaire.

    Sidenote: On the ROI ratio, students take far more in student loans than is necessary to live, which has a drastic effect on these calculations.

  • DHan Syracuse, UT
    June 17, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    Again, supporting your family means different things. Latrell Sprewell refused a $21 million offer because he "had a family to feed."

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 17, 2013 9:17 a.m.


    it's called personal responsibility

    I know that is a foreign concept to the left

    "Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs,"

    It's not about who can make the most money, but it IS about making enough to support yourself and not be a burden on society.

    Please stop twisting the other side's position so you can somehow justify your own.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2013 3:44 p.m.

    "Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live."

    Providing for physical needs doesn't require a college education. You can make $15 without a degree, working next to people with MBA's and degrees who couldn't find work in their fields.

    College is a place of learning, not a workforce. You learn skills for career growth but also as to be a well-rounded human being. The path of our existence is to increase in intelligence and help others do so also. Providing for our families and learning ought to translate to the same actions on our part. But that still doesn't say anything about ROI and choosing a degree.

    If you hate your work, you are far less likely to be successful. The logical choice, for happiness and providing for others, is choosing a major that you know you can succeed and thrive in. ROI says nothing about that. It's an impersonal calculation of money potential, nothing more.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2013 3:07 p.m.

    @Howard Beal
    That's a nice concept. My observation has been from the Ivy League to local state schools, the educational environment differs greatly among universities. Elite schools have more elite students and more elite faculty resulting in a superior educational environment, that is why they are considered elite. It correlates well with the average ACT scores of incoming freshman and that may be a better way to define elite.

  • afi1 Saint George, UT
    June 16, 2013 11:26 a.m.


    I completely agree! I worked full time and went to school full time and made it out alive....and make good money quite frankly! No matter the school or job it's possible if you plan it out right and work hard you can easily do it without getting into debt at all

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 16, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    Welcome to the new world as viewed by the far right. Every choice in life should be based on how it affects the bottom line. If there is no personal financial gain, then there is no point to what you are doing. We have been warned for thousands of years not rule false gods and one of those false gods is money. The republican party who claim the religious high ground, have become slaves to the almighty dollar.

    There is more to life than who can make the most money.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    June 16, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    We can't build strong families if we did not prepare to financially support them by focusing on getting a degree that has no earning potential. College is about preparing to be a provider first, then advancing our education about anything else we would like to learn second. Wholesome learning does not only take place in college. It is a life-long experience through personal research, community classes, college, etc.

    Yes, this article is one sided about the ROI aspect of education, but as LDS people if our "learning" trumps our ability to provide adequately for our families we might want to review the Proclamation on the Family and what our duties are. I am not advocating hefty salaries in place of healthy learning, but I have seen too many relatives, once married and with kids, leaning on parents and others because they failed to prepare to provide even though they graduated from college.

    The premiss of this article is worth considering.

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    June 16, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    of course ROI has to be part of the equation. What good would a PHD if you can't put food on the table with that knowledge? You are a burden to the society if you have all the degrees in the world but you can't find a job.

  • OKWalker Duncan, OK
    June 15, 2013 6:32 p.m.

    ROI on education? Please! That is an abominable utilitarian way to look at education. Convert all benefits of education to dollars and salaries? Sure, one needs to be aware of the costs of any endeavor. But the returns of education are far more than some salary or job that may or may not endure. And the real returns are far more important than salary.

    I believe LDS scriptures are pretty clear on this point. I am thinking about Section 88. It suggests, no rather it mandates, all of us learn all we can about everything. Not for ROI, not for salaries. But in order to prepare for our missions. In other words to build the kingdom of God. And heaven knows we need all of the education we can possibly obtain, along with all of the inspiration of heaven we can access, to build strong families and contribute positively to changes needed in society that will prepare a people and a society for the return of the Savior.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    June 15, 2013 4:55 p.m.

    I graduated with Bachelor's in Computer Science from BYU in 1998 with zero debt in spite of the restriction being placed on foreign students to not be able to work anywhere in the first year, and then after than only on campus. For a while until my worker's permit went through I was getting paid $9 an hour for a student programmer job while my classmates who I often had to help with assignments were making $15 or more in off-campus jobs. But all those hurdles did not stop me, and once I got my permit things got much better.

    My wife graduated the same year with Bachelor's in Russian. No debt accumulated. No money borrowed. If we had been smart and applied for my worker's permit earlier, she might not even have had to work a telemarketing job to pay for it. But regardless - our approach was get through school without debt or die, and that is why we succeeded.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    Why must the Deseret News keep focusing so heavily on ROI and not personal happiness or spiritual progress? ROI means nothing if you or your family will never be happy with that decision.

    Making money is important. Making 6+ figures instead of 5 isn't. We should focus a lot more on the consequences of choosing a major on the family a lot more, and a little bit less on which choices will make you big bucks.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    June 15, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    Our kids work all summer and pay for half of all their college expenses. We pay for the other half and they also have scholarships. We have told them we would pay our part for a degree that they can make money from when they graduate. We would not help finance degrees for interest's sake only. We have seen siblings and others who have spent time and money for degrees that were ultimately useless and that did not increase their ability to earn a living.

    For personal interests there are community classes or other means to aquire knowledge and skills that add joy to our lives.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 15, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    I think an equally as important question, is what school should I attend? Sometimes people pay mighty tuition for a so-called prestigious university when a degree from somewhere else would have been just as good.

  • rkl Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    Is there no other option besides scholarships and borrowing to pay for tuition and books?
    Is having a JOB so far from student's minds?

    While I attended the U of U, I always had a part time job. Upon graduation, I not only had a degree, but I had track record of being about to show up to work on time and produce something of value.

    My MBA degree at the U only a few years ago, cost be less than $5,000 net. I took heavy loads, and graduated in 3 semester rather than 4. While attending I worked at a TA.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    June 15, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    Stop advising college students to "do what you love!" That must come with the vital caveat to "do something you can make a good living at." Too many students choose easy majors, not the challenging ones that society pays to have.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    June 15, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    Most new graduates don't make median pay.