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Friday, December 19, 2014

Study: UNM may not be the best investment

Return on investment study of Southwest colleges rates UNM 11 out of 13 in region

assistant-news@dailylobo.com
@ChloeHenson5

UNM sits at the lower end of a ranking regarding return on investment for top-tier universities in the region.

According to BestValueSchools.com, UNM ranks 11 out of 13 among “number one schools” in the western region for ROI. UNM ranked above the University of Oregon and the University of Hawaii, Manoa. University of California Berkley came out on top.

Return on investment is measured by dividing benefit by cost of the investment. If a benefit is high or the cost is low, the ROI will be high.

In this case, ROI in the context of the University refers to how much a degree from UNM is worth after graduation compared to how much it costs to receive the degree.

In an email sent to the Daily Lobo, University Provost Chaouki Abdallah said he is pleased by UNM’s ranking on the list. He said some of his office’s projects could potentially improve the ranking, such as reducing the minimum credit hours to 120, which may decrease the cost of education and therefore improve ROI.

“The ultimate goal is to improve the ROI by increasing the value of the degree, and many ongoing projects are focusing on doing so,” he said. “These include better assessment of student learning, quality of teaching (and) injecting innovation into our curriculum.”

The site ranked schools based on the net 30-year ROI as measured by PayScale, Inc, according to the site. UNM had a net 30-year in-state ROI of $563,900 and an out-of-state ROI of $504,000
Karen Abraham, executive director for the UNM Alumni Association, said that as far as she can tell from her relations with alumni, UNM graduates are satisfied with the return on their investment.

Abraham said the association recently conducted an attitude survey that led her to believe that alumni find it important for the University to keep improving and increase the value of the graduate’s degree.

“People’s loyalty is tied to value of their degree and if it is growing in value,” she said.

A contributing factor to UNM’s high ROI may also be its low cost of tuition, Abdallah said. He said that while this ranking is good because it measures ROI, it only measures the economic benefits of education.

“I have been making the point recently that the value of education should not be valued by dollars alone but also by the benefits… provided to the individual and society,” he said.

Abraham said she thinks there is more value to education than just a dollar amount. She said education opens people up to the world and helps them be successful as a person.

“I think of education as not only preparing you for a job, but preparing you for life,” she said.