Quick fact: The opportunity cost of lost earnings
When comparing college costs, one needs to weigh how long it will likely take to earn a degree.
For the 17 institutions in the Minnesota Private College Council, the four-year grad rate for first-time, full-time students is 66 percent; this compares to 52 percent at the U of M system and 23 percent at Minnesota State universities. This means that our students are more likely to graduate on time, stop paying tuition and start working.
Looking across sectors, our four-year grad rate is about the same as the five-year grad rate at the U of M. At Minnesota State, the six-year grad rate is still below our four-year grad rate, but is the best point of comparison. When it takes longer to graduate, there are additional costs to factor in. These include the one or two additional years of tuition, the loss of State Grant for those years and the opportunity cost of forgone earnings — averaging $35,529 per year for students who graduated in 2013-14.
Sources: IPEDS graduation rate and financial aid data for 2010 first-time, full-time cohort; lost earnings of $35,529 based on data from Graduate Employment Outcomes Data from MN DEED for 2013-14 graduates second year after graduation.
1. Fall 2009 cohort data was used for Minnesota State Universities because fall 2010 cohort data was not available.
2. Assumes same net tuition for first four years. Net tuition for fifth and six years based on same data but excludes State Grant due to four-year eligibility cap.