Butler officials not concerned with report on university value

Yahoo! Finance recently published a study that concluded that public universities are currently a better value for students than private universities.

The Yahoo! study used information gathered through PayScale, a salary research company, and evaluated the schools based on their cost per year and the salaries of recent graduates. It did not, however, consider financial aid when ranking

which schools had the best value.

Though this study said that public universities are a better value, Butler students are finding success after graduation. The overall placement rate for Butler students is 93 percent.

Tom Weede, vice president of enrollment management, said criteria other than cost affect a school’s value.

“We know our students generally graduate on time,” Weede said. “Whether it’s four years for a traditional degree or six years for a pharmacy degree, Butler students usually do it on time.”

When you compare that with many of the state universities, the rate is much longer. At that point, students are spending an extra year paying that tuition and missing out on those earnings.”

The Georgia Institute of Technology placed first in the nation for its value. On average, the salaries of its students are 67 percent of what they paid per year in education.

“Georgia Tech is generally a school for engineering,” Weede said. “I would think that, based on that kind of score, engineering schools would always place a little higher. That’s skewed. I don’t think looking at gross earnings is a measure of a

school’s value.”

The survey included many different kinds of schools that may not be comparable. For example, the Georgia Institute of Technology does not have a school of education.

“Teachers tend to make less than engineers,” Weede said. “That’s a value judgment that our society makes.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that the guy who builds my bridges knows what he’s doing. But I think that there’s going to be some skewing according to the kinds of schools (in the survey).”

Public universities ranked higher on the list than private ones oftentimes due to their lower cost. The reason for this lower cost is that private universities “don’t have access to public funds like the public (universities) do,” Bruce Arick, vice

president of finance and administration, said.

Cost should play a large role in how a student decides to pick a school, Arick said. However, the “sticker price” of a college often is not what the student actually pays.

“Private (universities) do, in general, give more financial aid than public universities,” Arick said.

Overall cost and post-graduation success are not the only factors one should consider in determining value, Levester Johnson, vice president for student affairs, said.

Universities with a liberal arts foundation, such as Butler, focus on the development of mind, body and spirit.

For Johnson, one area in particular that sets Butler apart is the service work of its students.

“Studies that focus only on how much one is making do not get to the true value and contribution that particular types of institutions are giving back,” Johnson said. “Especially from a student affairs perspective, you can look at the

opportunities that await you that are here on the Butler campus. Almost every group on this campus has some type of philanthropy or service aspect.

The liberal arts aspect of an education is not the only difference between the two types of schools.

Students vary in how they learn best, and the student’s learning preferences change the type of school that student should be at, Arick said.

“I believe that here and in other private universities, you get a lot more attention from the faculty members and staff,” Arick said.

“We have faculty teaching students the discipline. Can students excel in a public university environment? Certainly. It’s really what the student and the family want out of the education.


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