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Counting the Cost – Jenkins Graduate Programs Stack Up Well in Wall Street Journal Report

By Caroline Barnhill

As the cost of higher education continues to receive scrutiny, more and more people are interested in seeing if the payoff of earning a degree is worth the investment. A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal took a closer look at graduate degrees offered by graduate programs across the country using data that displays students’ median earnings after graduation compared to their median debt load in earning the degree.

“We read about this all the time – a person who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a degree in an industry where they’ll never be able to recoup the cost of their degree,” explains Scott Showalter, director of Poole College’s Master of Accounting program. “However, there are many graduate programs that are worth the financial investment – and we have two such programs right here in Poole College.”

In the Wall Street Journal report, graduate programs at NC State, including both the college’s Master of Accounting (MAC) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs ranked favorably with their debt-income ratios.

“NC State’s ratio for the Jenkins MAC Program was .36 for graduate programs. If you look at some of our peer institutions, their ratio is sometimes twice as high – if not more,” Showalter says. “It’s a major selling point to incoming students for our program that not only do we offer a financially competitive program, but our graduates also end up recouping the cost of their degree sooner than those in other programs due to their earning potential.”

As individuals explore the potential of earning a degree like the MAC, conversations about student debt come up often, Showalter explains. It is helpful, he says, to be able to point to third-party sources like the Wall Street Journal to demonstrate the value of the Jenkins Graduate programs. 

“Every year we have dozens of individuals who are several years removed from college but have found themselves stuck because they cannot advance without a graduate degree,” Showalter continues. “Therefore, oftentimes their future earning power is limited without a MAC degree. We also see several prospective students who worked in other professions that didn’t fulfill them for various reasons and find the accounting profession attractive. Accounting is an in-demand profession that pays well and provides steady employment with a variety of career paths. It’s why we see 20 to 30 people a year entering the Jenkins MAC program without an undergraduate accounting degree.”

Poole College associate dean of academic programs Vikas Anand believes it is a trend that will continue.

“Our Jenkins Graduate programs are consistently ranked as some of the most valuable degrees because of their affordability and quality,” Anand says. “We are proud to offer strong programs that enhance the careers of our students without saddling them with excessive debt. Many of our graduate programs – including the MBA – are STEM designated and that speaks to our underlying strength in analytics, which is a necessity in today’s business world. Additionally, we offer a wide range of electives that allow students to customize the programs. These factors, along with our high-touch approach, make the Jenkins business programs a very compelling value.”

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.

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