Two recently released measures of affordability in higher education have recognized the value of a University of Missouri–St. Louis degree for students.
A Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce study examines measures of affordability for all students and the other, from the National College Attainment Network (NCAN), looks at college and university affordability for Pell Grant recipients.
“It’s great to see data that acknowledges everything that UMSL is doing to improve opportunities for students and get them on track to graduate quickly with as little debt as possible,” said Beth Eckelkamp, UMSL vice provost for student success and academic innovation. “We’re constantly working to help students build social capital and other resources for students so they can be successful in school and improve their lives and those of their families.”
The Center on Education and Workforce’s “Ranking 4,500 Colleges by ROI (2022)” attempts to examine if earning a college degree is worth the investment. It is a follow-up on a 2019 report and adds a new measure looking at the percentage of graduates who earn more than they would have with only a high school diploma.
According to a press release from the center, at 30% of schools, more than half of graduates don’t earn more than those with only a high school credential. But almost 80% of UMSL graduates earn more, placing the school in the top four among four-year, public institutions in the state.
Among public and private four-year institutions, UMSL ranks second in best earnings-price return rate, a measure that evaluates earnings above or below the institution’s net price 10 years after enrollment. Additionally, UMSL’s net price is the second lowest in the state for the same category.
NCAN, a nonprofit focused on closing equity gaps in postsecondary attainment, focuses on some of the students facing the most barriers in “The Growing Gap: Public Higher Education’s Declining Affordability for Pell Grant Recipients.” The study, which examines data from 2018-2019, found that only 23% of four-year, public institutions are affordable.
For the ranking, NCAN examined total price, emergency aid, grant aid, loans, federal work study, expected family contribution and summer wages to determine affordability.
Only five four-year institutions in Missouri are considered affordable by these criteria, with UMSL ranking first in the state with an affordability of $2,833.