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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