Student debt is running rampant across the U.S. and beyond. Students must weigh their options about whether or not they’re college bound much earlier because of the cost of tuition. The question every potential college student has to ask themselves is whether or not a degree is worth the money that they will pay to earn it.

Concordia is a private liberal arts college, which means it is fairly expensive. With that being said, we as students are sold on the guarantee that a degree from Concordia means more than a degree from a state school. But does is it really, or is that the lie we are told to keep enrollment up?

Concordia has an average cost of attendance of $21,953 with a 73 percent graduation rate, and NDSU has an average cost of attendance of $15,069 with a 55 percent graduation rate, according to CollegeScorecard.com. A Concordia grad will make on average of $41,300 the first year after graduation, and NDSU graduates make on average $46,700 in their first year after graduation.

With a $6,000 gap between the costs of attendance, only an 18 percent higher graduation rate and an average of $5,000 less in earnings after the first year out of college, why would anyone choose Concordia over NDSU?

The answer, at least in part, is that the statistics are skewed. According to Jasi O’Connor, Concordia’s director of institutional effectiveness, NDSU’s graduation rate is based off of a six year average. In reality, NDSU has a 22 percent graduation rate over 4 years, while Concordia has a 68 percent 4-year graduation rate. With that being said, a Concordia grad is in the workforce on average two years earlier than an NDSU graduate.

“There is also evidence that liberal arts degree graduates will make more than another graduate by the 10 years after graduation,” O’Connor said.

Graduating college often comes with the burden of student debt. In 2013, 11.3 percent of students that borrowed money to get through college defaulted on their student loans. According to Eric Addington, vice president of enrollment and financial aid, the national debt average for private 4-year colleges is 6.5 percent, but Concordia’s is 1.3 percent.

“This shows me that students are doing a good job of making their loan payments on time,” Addington said.

This shows that Concordia graduates are better off than graduates of a public state school. While it costs more to attend, students are left with a 68 percent chance to graduate in 4 years, have the opportunity to move up in the business world faster due to the liberal arts experience and also have a low chance of defaulting on student loans. Going to college is expensive regardless of the school, but Concordia graduates are getting their money’s worth.

This article was submitted by Hayden Karr , contributing writer.

Contributing Writer

This article was contributed to The Concordian by an outside writer. Questions and comments on this article should be directed to concord@cord.edu.

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