In last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama promised to launch the College Scorecard, a website that serves a straightforward purpose: to find out “where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.” With the website’s release this week, it comes as no surprise to find out that art students are laden with more debt than most other professions.
The Wall Street Journal, when comparing The White House’s college rankings site, finds that the schools with the highest median debt come from arts schools. The country’s highest median debt load upon graduation sits at $52,035; that startling figure comes from The Creative Center, a for-profit art college in Omaha, Nebraska. New York’s Manhattan School of Music comes in second with a median debt load of $47,000.
Closer to home, the median borrowing for families and students at New York-based schools sits uncomfortably high. From highest-to-lowest, there’s New York University at $29,260, Pratt Institute at $26,750, SVA at $26,000, The New School at $20,000, and Columbia $12,500.
These numbers have nothing to do with a school’s academic quality; this disparity in debt appears to rest on which families can afford to pay for college without taking out loans.
All these rocket-high numbers gave The Wall Street Journal occasion to make a series of bold, if obvious statements:
“Most people assume a degree in the arts is no guarantee of riches. Now there is evidence that such graduates also rack up the most student-loan debt.”
Will all this debt now out in the open, ward students away from pricey art schools with questionable pay off? Probably not. However, the College Scorecard appears to be part of The White House’s larger effort to bolster responsible spending. During his State of the Union, Obama claimed that he wants “Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.” That intervention, we hope, could finally deter schools from sky-high tuition rates.