MICA Blasts PayScale Study, Calls Degree a ‘Great Investment’

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The Maryland Institute College of Art wasn’t about to let PayScale’s recent study, which trashed the value of a MICA degree, go unanswered. In fact, the institution went on the offensive, citing several problems with the study and touting a bevy of statistics that affirm the worth of their rather expensive art degree.

The PayScale compared the salaries of 62 MICA graduates to the average cost of a degree to determine that the 20-year return on investment was -$90,000.

In a Baltimore Business Journal article, Cedric Mobley, speaking on behalf MICA, deemed the sample size “statistically invalid,” and faulted the study for excluding the self-employed and master’s degree-holders. Another strike against the study, for Mobley, was its use of self-reporting. Respondents went to the PayScale website of their own accord and reported their income; they were not selected at random.

Mobley went on to cite MICA graduates’ low student-loan default rate, 67 percent below the national average, as evidence of the earning ability of the degree. Strategic National Arts Alumni Project’s research shows that a majority of MICA graduates are self-employed (and therefore excluded from the study). Mobley asserts that many grads who have corporate jobs supplement their income with freelancing. And according to a SNAAP survey, 93 percent of alumni report being satisfied or very satisfied with MICA.

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  1. Especially given that I currently have a MICA student in the family (who I hope will be a graduate one day?), I’m glad to see that my tuition dollars are not ALL for nought! And kudos to you for reporting the other side of the story. Thanks for the even-handedness

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