NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “The Net Return from College Majors”


Mary:    I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at the net return from college majors.  Mike, we’re used to hearing about differences in pay that college students will earn based on their college major.  But now I understand there’s a new study that combines these pay differences with the cost of the college major.  Please share the results of this study.

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. New from the NBER
  2. Recognizes that educational costs of majors vary significantly
  3. For example, a scientific major requiring lab facilities has higher costs than a business major not needing those
  4. So have a new study that looks at net returns – average salary earned by major minus instruction costs
  5. At the top of the list with highest returns are business, computer science, and engineering
  6. Mid-range are public administration, health fields, and education
  7. Lowest are art, physical sciences, and architecture
  8. Not specific by college, and can certainly vary
  9. But legislators will look at
  10. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.