More bang for your buck

Rachel Robertson

School ranked highly for financial accountability in two reports

Tied with schools such as Williams, University of Pennsylvania and Brown, Lafayette College boasted an annual return on investment that ranked fifth in the nation for liberal arts students, according to PayScale’s 2014 College ROI Report.

Lafayette had a seven percent annual ROI which fell slightly below the 8.8 percent of Harvey Mudd College, the leading institution in the category. Ivy League schools Princeton University, Harvard University and Dartmouth rounded out the top four. Fellow Patriot League schools Bucknell University, Colgate University and College of the Holy Cross placed below Lafayette for annual ROI, but within the top 20.

The return is based on 20 years of projected earnings, according to the report. Investment is measured using 2013 tuition data factoring in on-campus room and board with no financial assistance from the institution in question.

PayScale’s recognition of the college is an accomplishment of which the school is proud.

“We are always pleased by this kind of positive feedback and publicity,” President Alison Byerly wrote in an email. “We do have a strong career services program that does a terrific job working with students on their career options from the very beginning of their time at Lafayette.”

Annual ROI percentage was not the only financial achievement Lafayette can brag about this week.

The US Department of Education recognized Lafayette, along with approximately 750 other institutions, earlier in the week with a perfect score on the department’s financial responsibility test. The test, which is scored on a scale of -1 to 3, considers factors such as “colleges’ debts, assets, and operating surpluses or deficits,” over the fiscal year of July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, according to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

PayScale and the USDE’s acknowledgement of Lafayette’s superior position in relation to other schools in terms of financial-based criteria could act as an impetus for a prospective student to favor Lafayette. The school wants to stress, however, that students should not choose a school based merely on financial metrics.

“I hope prospective students choose Lafayette as an investment in their future that goes beyond their own individual salaries, though,” Byerly wrote in an email. “A Lafayette education is an investment in becoming a more thoughtful, educated citizen who is prepared to contribute to the world.”