Elite degree doesn’t matter for STEM grads

Graduating from an elite college doesn’t boost earnings for science, math and engineering graduates, conclude Eric R. Eide and Michael J. Hilmer in the Wall Street Journal. A prestige degree does help business and liberal-arts majors, according to the Journal‘s analysis of a survey of graduates.

STEM grads with a degree from a low-priced state university earn as much as those from elite private schools, they found.

The analysis controlled for “factors that might influence earnings, such as family income, race/ethnicity, gender, marital status, SAT score, postgraduate degree and age at graduation and more.”

In STEM fields, “curriculums are relatively standardized and there’s a commonly accepted body of knowledge students must absorb,” write Eide and Hilmer. Employers seem to be looking for skills rather than prestige.

Assessing a job applicant’s competence is harder if the degree is in what we used to call “fuzzy studies.”

College graduates’ “well-being” — financial security, health, sense of purpose and other factors — isn’t related to their alma mater’s selectivity, size or whether it was public or private, concluded the Gallup-Purdue Index in 2014.

Gallup will use its Well-Being Index  to certify universities that produce the happiest graduates. George Mason is the first university to seek  certification.

Immigrant teens are happy achievers

Immigrant teenagers take higher-level math and science classes than native-born students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, concludes a new study by sociologists at Johns Hopkins University. As young adults, the immigrants are better educated and score higher on a test of psychological well-being. (Yes, we’re talking about Hispanic immigrants too, not just Asians.)

The American-born children of immigrants also do better, though the difference isn’t as great.

This bodes well for the workforce of the future, since “a quarter of American children are the offspring of immigrants,” writes Daniel Akst in the Wall Street Journal.