In tough times, liberal arts colleges defend their value

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 20, 2012 - 6:59 AM
  • 112
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arspartzMar. 19, 12 9:44 PM

"Learning how to learn"???? This skill is also gained while earning a non-liberal arts degree. In fact, it is out to use while you LEARN what you need to pass your selected disciple.

thatisright1Mar. 19, 12 9:49 PM

Only a fool would attend Saint Olaf, or any other private college, without (1) having the cash to pay for it or (2) majoring in a degree that matters. "Liberal arts" do not have a monopoly on teaching critical thinking skills and training students how to learn. Besides, most professors teaching in a liberal arts program don't promote critical thinking.

mnmonkeyboyMar. 19, 1210:07 PM

I can't think of anything I spent money on in my life that I value more than my education. The unemployment rate for college grads is lower than those without one,..and if you have a masters the unemployment rate is lower still.

alanpMar. 19, 1210:18 PM

As a political science major, I ended up working as a business analyst and then in marketing. I would advice folks to get a better focused major, computer science, programming, marketing, etc. A liberal arts degree is better than nothing but in a uber competitive job market the person with an actual job/career focused degree will do better than a liberal arts generalist. I'm proud of education and my degree, but if I had to do it over, I wouldn't go with a liberal arts degree.

mattprivratskyMar. 19, 1210:25 PM

The U of M Morris offers a very similar liberal arts experience at less than half the cost. Liberal Arts degrees in general are very valuable, and I would argue UMM offers one of the best in the country.

gadflyMar. 19, 1210:31 PM

"...studies with competing messages... graduates with "soft" majors in areas like fine arts are more likely to be unemployed and make less money... recent grads who scored well on liberal arts skills like reasoning and writing are doing better financially than those with lower scores." The author needs to brush up on her reasoning skills, because the results from these studies do NOT conflict. The first correlates employment with degree field, the second with actual skills. Furthermore, one of those skills (reasoning) is emphasized much more strongly in "hard" majors like science than in "soft" ones like... *ahem*... art.

educh8ersMar. 19, 1211:00 PM

It's sad and weird that Minnesota, once renowned for education and the arts, has turned into yet another state where hate and mistrust is routinely aimed towards both. All too frequently, the hate is fueled by misinformation. Alumni of institutions like St. Olaf, Macalester, etc. are typically very well employed and deeply satisfied with their outcomes. Their debt is actually less than, to use an example given here, that of a typical UM Morris grad. (google project on student debt) As mnmonkeyboy said, it's hard to find a purchase people are more satisfied with than such fine educations. Check on consumer satisfaction with online & for-profits and you won't find the same. Yes, good educations are very expensive, but the lack of one is still more expensive.

william2mnMar. 19, 1211:48 PM

I learned more about myself and thinking in my philosophy classes than in any of the classes in my major (which while ok wasn't exactly enlightening) but my major is allowing me to remain employed and pay the bills. I would advise people to seriously look at at what the major can do for a career, seeking long term employment in a field and yes, pay - and then if you still crave the Arts - you can attend a community college every semester and take all of the liberal arts classes you want and grow as a person for fun and at far less cost than a 4 year school.

KayBillMar. 19, 1211:49 PM

mattp, i agree: you won't find a better education anywhere, at any price, than you'd get at UM Morris. And they have a strong alumni association, which means when it comes to getting that first job, the alumni are there for you. You want the beautiful ivy-covered buildings? Got that,too

gwbuddyMar. 20, 12 1:20 AM

10 years ago, I attended the University of Saint Thomas. I thought that that school was expensive back then. Much more expensive now. I get mailings, and telephone calls, for "School Fundraisers" all the time. I don't know how anyone attending these private colleges can pay a lot of money -- Tuition + Fees + Room & Board + etc. -- and NOT think about their future employment prospects. Unless students are planning to live with Mommy & Daddy forever -- which most of us are NOT -- students need to prepare themselves to "Get A Job" and "Earn A Living. And, -- as the couple mentioned in this article had to do -- prepare for possible changes in the economy. That's just REALITY in the modern Capitalistic, Global, economy in which we live. Probably a different world than when St. Olaf, St. Thomas, and other private liberal arts colleges too, were founded.


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