With a 7.8 per cent unemployment rate and an average $25,000-per-student debt load, one of the first questions college hopefuls should ask when choosing a school is, “Will this institution teach me the skills I need to actually get a job?”Not all college curricula is created equally, a fact highlighted in a new report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a D.C.-based higher education policy nonprofit.
In its fourth annual study, “What Will They Learn?,” ACTA combed through the curricula at more than 1,000 major institutions to see whether students were required to study seven of the most basic subjects: composition, U.S. government or history, economics, literature, college-level maths, science and intermediate-level foreign language.
Institutions were then assigned a letter grade––from A (6-7 courses required) down to F (0-1 courses offered).
As a nation, the results were less than stellar. Just 21 institutions could boast an A score, and most offered fewer than four courses.
While topics like U.S. History and economics might only give a boost to graduates in specific career fields, you would think colleges would be really pushing career-boosting subjects like foreign languages.
About 14 per cent of the institutions required an intermediate foreign language course and less than 40 per cent required a course in literature. maths was even more lacking, with one in three requiring students to study at the college level.
“This study shows that while students, parents and taxpayers are paying a lot, they’re not getting a lot in return,” Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, said in a statement.
Some Ivy Leaguers like Harvard and Yale cost more than $200,000 over a four-year period, yet scored a D by ACTA’s calculations.
Among the top 21 performers in ACTA’s study, standouts included Baylor University (annual tuition: $31,000); the City University of New York (annual tuition: $5,584 in-state); and the University of Georgia (annual tuition: $9,472 in-state).
Luckily, the most popular subject offered, science, is also one of the more lucrative focuses out there. Of the highest-earning college majors released by PayScale last month, more than half required some element of science.
Granted, success in any career path involves a lot more than high grades in a designated pool of subject areas, but this study offers another way to judge a college before paying up.
Here’s a full list of the top 21:
TuitionGraduation RateUniversity of Texas – San Antonio A
$7,042 (In State)
$14,554 (Out of State) 27% University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma A
$3,744 (In State)
$8,904 (Out of State) 39% University of Georgia A
$9,472 (In State)
$27,682 (Out of State) 82% University of Dallas A
$31,150 73% United States Military Academy A
$0 83% United States Coast Guard Academy A
$0 83% United States Air Force Academy A
$0 83% Thomas More College of Liberal Arts A
$17,600 68% Thomas Aquinas College A
$22,850 69% Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi A
$6,594 (In State)
$15,894 (Out of State) 40% St. John’s College (NM) A
$43,655 53% St. John’s College (MD) A
$43,656 69% Regent University A
$12,340 33% Pepperdine University A
$40,752 81% Morehouse College A
$23,792 55% Kennesaw State University A
$5,340 (In State)
$14,916 (Out of State) 41% Gardner-Webb University A
$23,510 55% Colorado Christian University A
$22,960 42% City University of New York – Brooklyn College A
$5,584 (In State)
$11,494 (Out of State) 48% California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo A
$7,911 (In State)
$19,071 (Out of State) 75% Baylor University A
$31,658 72% ————————————— Just for fun, see how some Ivy League schools stacked up: SchoolGrade
TuitionGraduation RateBrown University F
$42,230 95% Columbia University B
$45,290 93% Harvard University D
$39,851 97% Princeton University C
$37,865 96% Stanford University C
$41,564 96% Yale University D
$40,500 97%See Also: This student was nearly crushed by student debt >