Nov. 15 – National Educational Support Professionals Day

Gay Lynn HillBell Ringers, Economics(BR)

Nov. 15 is National Educational Support Professionals Day.

Many schools 150 years ago consisted of a building, some furniture, and a teacher. Today, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, instructional expenses are only 61% of total school outlays for K-12 education. In higher education, less than 1/3 of expenses (per student) are for instruction! This is one of the reasons why college has become so difficult for so many to afford, and why the return on investment of college is increasingly called into question.

Return on investment is an economic concept. A key to understanding it is looking at the total cost of some investment. When universities choose to invest more in student services, relative to K-12 schools, they have to get that money from somewhere – such as instruction. When calculating ROI (return on investment), you not only need to look at the actual cost, but also what you would otherwise have been doing – the opportunity cost. So if you quit your job to get an MBA, the cost is both the direct cost, and the lost wages you would otherwise have earned. This fall, University of Wisconsin-Madison announced (and then retracted), that it would suspend its MBA program, because enough students no longer considered it worthwhile and weren’t enrolling


Questions:
  1. The ROI of different degree programs in college varies greatly. Which degrees do you think offer the highest return?
  2. If you knew that the program you wanted to study cost more than it was “worth” in monetary terms, at the school of your choice, would you:
    1. choose a different school with lower costs?
    2. choose a different degree program? or
    3. find another way to get the credentials necessary to work in the relevant field?
  3. Why did you choose what you did, in the previous question?
  4. Do you thank your “Educational Support Professionals?” Do they add value to your school experience? Your education? Do you let them know?

Image Citation:

7, Nov. 2018, Logo for Educational Support Professionals [Digital image].  Retrieved from <google.com>.