April 2019 newsletter
Find how one Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota senior has managed the cost of college. Then explore why bachelor’s degrees are valued by employers and why they pay off personally for the students who earn them.
College financial aid packages often include institutional scholarships, money that the colleges award students that doesn’t need to be paid back. Minnesota Private Colleges award over $614 million in institutional scholarships each year. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota student Zechariah Kitzhaber is just one student whose education is supported by these scholarships.
While in high school in Wisconsin, Kitzhaber looked at a few different colleges — some private, some public — and after talking with his parents he knew he wanted to go to the college that could make it the most affordable. “Cost was definitely one of the biggest factors when I was picking colleges,” Kitzhaber remembered. “I was mainly looking at larger schools but a few smaller schools too. I didn’t want to go into debt if I didn’t have to.”
Now a senior, Kitzhaber said he was pleasantly surprised when he received Saint Mary’s financial aid package and he opted for the Winona institution. Along with two institutional scholarships from Saint Mary’s, his package also includes a Pell Grant, which is tied to financial need. Kitzhaber has worked hard to line up other resources: he receiving a community scholarship, has a campus job as an RA and has a paid off-campus internship.
For Kitzhaber’s first two years, he was debt free. “After sophomore year, one of my scholarships ended,” Kitzhaber said. “Saint Mary’s financial aid was so helpful and luckily I only needed to take out a small loan for my junior year and was able to secure another scholarship for senior year.”
In his first year Kitzhaber was studying philosophy at Saint Mary’s seminary; he’s now a chemistry major but is still connected with on-campus ministry. He’s also on the club ultimate Frisbee team and is first chair trombone in the college’s jazz band.
Kitzhaber is headed to the University of South Carolina to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry after he graduates this spring.
“Affording college first starts with hard work — in high school, in college and finding scholarships and opportunities to make things a little easier,” Kitzhaber said. “College sounds expense, but with hard work it can be affordable.”
At Minnesota Private Colleges, 95 percent of our first-year students receive grants and scholarships that do not have to be paid back. And for every $1 in state and federal grant aid our colleges award $6 in institutional aid.
by Tom Lancaster
Minnesota needs more people to earn degrees after high school — including associate degrees and vocational certificates. But in today’s economy, the post-secondary degree option that remains the surest pathway to economic security and a middle-class income is a bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor’s degrees are valued by employers and they pay off personally for the individuals who earn them. Higher wages, more stable employment and wider professional opportunities are some of the proven benefits of having a bachelor’s degree. Additional benefits include improved health and increased civic engagement. Here are some of the supporting facts.
A large majority of the new jobs created in the economy are going to those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Between 2010 and 2016, the U.S. economy created about 11 million new jobs. More than 8 million of those jobs went to people with a four-year degree or higher. Only 3 million of those new jobs went to those with a two-year degree or some college, and there has been virtually no job growth in the economy for those with a high school degree or less. And that trend continues strong: a year-over-year comparison shows that 83 percent of newly created jobs went to those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Americans with a bachelor’s degree earn significantly more than those with just a high school degree.
The median earnings for Minnesotans with a bachelor’s degree are 74 percent higher than for those with a high school degree and 43 percent higher than for those with an associate’s degree or some college. And according to national data, the earnings increase for a bachelor’s degree over a high school diploma is larger for African-Americans (67 percent) and Latinos (78 percent) than whites (59 percent). Nationally the earnings premium for a bachelor’s degree has been increasing. Median earnings for Americans aged 22-27 between 1990 and 1997 with a bachelor’s degree were 42 percent higher than those with just a high school degree. Two decades later (between 2010 and 2017) that gap grew to 59 percent. Economic studies have concluded that the investment in a four-year degree yields a better return than investing in the stock market or buying a home.
Americans with a bachelor’s degree are less likely to be unemployed.
That was clear during the Great Recession. In 2010 the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders in Minnesota was 4.1 percent, while the unemployment rate for others was more than double that. And by 2016 the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders dropped to 1.8 percent.
For sources and links related to data points shared here, see page 4 of the Council’s 2019 Policy Brief.
If you have questions about the value of bachelor’s degrees that the Council could help address, we’re glad to be of help. Feel free to contact John Manning at email@example.com.
The median family income for FAFSA-filing Minnesota students at our colleges falls within a similar range as the state’s public universities. (“Median” means that half have higher incomes and half have incomes lower than the amounts shown.)
- $87,300 at the University of Minnesota
- $83,400 at Minnesota Private Colleges*
- $62,800 at Minnesota State universities
This can be broken down even further into three general income categories:
Source: Minnesota State Grant End-of-Year Statistics Fiscal Year 2018 report, Minnesota Office of Higher Education
Note: Uses adjusted gross income, includes only Minnesota residents who file a FAFSA
*The Minnesota Private College Council’s 17 member institutions
Alysala Malik ’19 earns Watson Fellowship to study food insecurity
The Carleton College student will spend the next year living and volunteering in France, Madagascar, India, Japan, South Africa and Nepal.
Using knowledge to help others locally and in the classroom
Bethel University Biology Professor Jonathan Van Berkom consults as a toxicologist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), providing real-life lessons for students.
Scientists provide compelling clues in St. Olaf’s Munch mystery
Scientists visited St. Olaf College to test a painting long-rumored to be a work by famed Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. The results are in — and they are compelling.
CSB/SJU students present experiential research project findings at Mayo Clinic
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University students help in the assessment of innovative technologies submitted by Mayo researchers.
Dougherty Family College students receive full-tuition scholarships
Ten Dougherty Family College students have been selected for full-tuition scholarships to pursue their bachelor's degrees at the University of St. Thomas.
Saint Mary's to host celebration of scholarship
Hundreds of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota students will present their research within a broad spectrum of disciplines on April 26 for the campuswide annual event.
Concordia speech team places 12th in national tournament
Concordia College’s speech team took home a 12th place finish at that American Forensic Association National Tournament. Leah Roberts took third place for Prose out of 124 competitors.
CSP officially acquires Central Midway Building
Concordia University, St. Paul announced it officially closed on the purchase of the Central Midway Building, providing flexibility to serve the needs of a growing student population.
A focus on sustainability
It's always earth month in Hamline University's Renewable Energy and Environmental Research Lab.
Augsburg continues to be top producer of U.S. Fulbright students
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs listed Augsburg University among top five producers of Fulbright students at master's level institution, Augsburg's sixth time on the list.
St. Scholastica leads a collaboration to promote diversity in education
The College of St. Scholastica and community partners have developed their own program within the national "Pathways2Teaching" directive to help marginalized young people explore teaching as a potential career choice.
A Macalester professor and an alumnus named to TIME 100: Most Influential People of 2019
Macalester College English Professor Marlon James, and Fred Swaniker, class of 1999, have both been named to the list.
Gustavus professor's glacier research featured on BBC
Gustavus Adolphus College geography professor Jeff La Frenierre's revolutionary research on glacial melt and climate change will be featured on BBC's Earth From Space.
Minnesota Private College Week registration opens
Students and families can now register for campus visits at any of our colleges during the free annual event, which runs June 24-28 with sessions offered daily.
Commencement dates, details announced
Colleges celebrate their graduates’ achievements with undergrad commencements that run from May to June. See the list of dates and speakers.
Still time to register for Counselors’ Breakfast
This year’s Counselors' Breakfast will be held on May 8 in Bloomington. Admissions representatives from our member institutions will be on hand to answer counselors’ questions and share what’s happening on their campuses. The event and the parking are free.
Council graduation rate report now available
The report examines graduation rates for our member institutions compared to other sectors in Minnesota and nationwide averages.
Gustavus wins 2nd consecutive Minnesota College Ballot Bowl
For the second year in a row, Gustavus Adolphus College has won the statewide Minnesota College Ballot Bowl awarded by the Minnesota Secretary of State. Gustavus had the highest number of student voter registrations and highest percentage of eligible students registered among all private colleges or universities in Minnesota.
Community engagement work recognized
Students, faculty, staff and community partners were recognized for their civic engagement efforts at the Minnesota Campus Compact summit in April. All Presidents’ Award recipients are described at the above link and campus media articles highlight winners at Concordia University, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, College of Saint Benedict, Saint John’s University, St. Olaf College and Carleton College.
The humanities and the future
Scientific American, March 22, 2019
Here's what Minnesota must do to fully staff a growing economy
Star Tribune, April 3, 2019
What's the purpose of college?
Forbes, April 10, 2019
Supporting first-generation students
Inside Higher Ed, April 11, 2019
Purpose as well as paycheck
Inside Higher Ed, April 11, 2019