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Study finds Concordia lags behind area schools in financial return

Admissions explores underlying reasons for Concordia’s ranking

Concordia graduates aren’t getting as good of a financial return on their tuition as students from North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University of Moorhead, according to a recent article published in The Forum.

“PayScale, a salary analysis site, used salary data from alumni to rank colleges and universities based on post-graduate earnings and the total cost to attend school,” the article said.

According to PayScale, graduates from NDSU got a much higher ranking than Concordia, but not everyone agrees with this ranking.

The particulars of the PayScale study are tough for a school like Concordia, because so many students go on to graduate and professional school or service work, according to Vice President of enrollment, Steve Schuetz.

Many Concordia seniors choose to get a job following graduation and start paying off college loans, but for students seeking service, a salary may not be the goal.

This upcoming August, senior education major Caitlin Nyby will move to Shell, Ecuador to teach English for ten months at Casa De Fe, an orphanage for abused and abandoned children in the rainforest.

Nyby has gone on two Concordia-sponsored mission trips to Casa De Fe in the past and has fallen in love with the atmosphere. Nyby’s best friend died while she was on the second mission trip, and this deeply affected her decision to do something different after graduation.

“Life is really short,” Nyby said. “Nothing is holding me back (in the United States), so I wanted to do something other than going to work.”

Nyby’s teaching position at Casa De Fe is unpaid and she has received some criticism because of it.

“Some people just don’t get it,” she said.

Senior Marie Vanderpan is another student that fits the mold of service has chosen to go into mission work following graduation.

“I decided that in order to best understand how to work and serve the world, I needed to explore it,” she said.

Vanderpan has been accepted into Youth With A Mission, which is a Christian centered missions company that trains their team members locally before sending them overseas.

“I will train for three months and then be sent on a two to three month ministry oriented service project,” she said. “I am really excited to become more engaged in the world I live in.”

For Vanderpan, the decision to choose service over the workplace was difficult, but necessary.

“I felt a little bit burnt out from college. I needed time to refocus myself before pursuing a career path,” she said. “I feel called to work toward a career dealing with social justice, so taking a gap year focused on issues of social justice fits me perfectly.”

Nyby is also confident that her time in Ecuador is going to be well worth it, despite her peers’ skepticism.

“It’s offering life experience that a job isn’t going to give me. Teaching in a poverty stricken area is not about money and getting paid.”

Nyby says that having the opportunity to teach and take care of children who have been previously abandoned will benefit her emotionally and spiritually and help her grow as a person.

“Their parents couldn’t take care of them…I realized I could impact these kids,” she said.

Vanderpan plans to enter the workplace following her missions work and is optimistic about the experience she will gain overseas.

“I remember spending a whole day looking up different (missions) programs,” she said. “The fact that there are a lot of programs makes me confident that I am doing the right thing. I know that organizations and businesses will value these types of experiences.”

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