Monday, December 13, 2010

Phase 1 Launched!

Phase 1 of the My True Salary project has launched! Please check out the Beta version of Grade My College, a springboard to My True Salary, at:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Study This, Earn That

Originally Posted on

Learn why your salary is a matter of degrees

By Chris Kyle

The college diplomas of an engineering and music major look nearly identical.

Their bank accounts at the mid-career mark... not so much.

Not long after the ink dries on their degrees, a petroleum engineer will make $100,000 more per year than a music major, according to mid-career salary statistics from Payscale's 2010-2011 College Salary Report.

For those curious about the average pay that comes with different bachelor's degrees, we count down some of the most popular degrees from highest to lowest. The results may surprise you...

Study Finance, Earn $91,500

While it may pale in comparison to petroleum engineers, who earn a whopping $157,000, finance graduates with a bachelor's degree still do quite well, earning an average mid-career salary of $91,500. Typical finance careers include financial planners, bankers, and stockbrokers.

Study Information Technology (IT), Earn $79,300

Information technology gave birth to today's paperless business world, making an IT bachelor's degree valuable in every profession imaginable, from the computer industry to health care and beyond. According to Payscale's 2010-2011 report, IT grads make nearly $80,000 mid-career.

Study Accounting, Earn $77,500

Forget about Mandarin, Spanish, or even English. The most important language in the business world is accounting. According to Payscale, those with a bachelor's degree in accounting have an average salary of $77,500 mid-career. It's also a smart choice for those seeking an associate's degree since many accountants enter the workforce with only two years of training.

Study Marketing, Earn $77,300

Knowing how to market a product to the masses is a skill that will always be in demand. Grads with a bachelor's degree in marketing get paid handsomely for their efforts, averaging at $77,300 per year mid-career. For even quicker training, you can earn a marketing associate's degree.

Study Business, Earn $70,600

While business administration remains one of the most popular bachelor's degrees, Payscale broke down undergraduate business degrees into two categories: international business and business. Today's global economy gives a slight edge to international business majors, who average at $73,700 mid-career, just ahead of the $70,600 in average salary for business majors.

Study Literature, Earn $65,700

Sure, you will strengthen your reading and writing skills by studying literature. But reading great books can also deepen your ability to understand the human condition. Literature majors often move on to study law or work in communications or marketing as writers and editors.

Study Human Resources (HR), Earn $61,900

Recruiting and retaining the best and brightest employees is an HR professional's goal. By gaining a bachelor's in human resources, you can position yourself for a mid-career salary of nearly $62,000 by learning how to best use your people skills in all kinds of workplace environments.

Study Criminal Justice, Earn $58,000

Lawyers and paralegals aren't the only ones who study laws and how to apply them. Everyone from federal agents and police officers to private investigators can benefit from studying criminal justice. A mid-career salary of $58,000 is the norm for those with a bachelor's degree.

*All salary data is based upon mid-career averages of those with a bachelor's degree and comes from Payscale's 2010-2011 College Salary Report.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Report: College dropouts cost taxpayers billions

By: Eric Gorski

Original Source: at

Dropping out of college after a year can mean lost time, burdensome debt and an uncertain future for students.

Now there's an estimate of what it costs taxpayers. And it runs in the billions.

States appropriated almost $6.2 billion for four-year colleges and universities between 2003 and 2008 to help pay for the education of students who did not return for year two, a report released Monday says.

In addition, the federal government spent $1.5 billion and states spent $1.4 billion on grants for students who didn't start their sophomore years, according to "Finishing the First Lap: The Cost of First-Year Student Attrition in America's Four-Year Colleges and Universities."

The dollar figures, based on government data and gathered by the nonprofit American Institutes for Research, are meant to put an economic exclamation point on the argument that college completion rates need improvement.

But the findings also could give ammunition to critics who say too many students are attending four-year schools — and that pushing them to finish wastes even more taxpayer money.

The Obama administration, private foundations and others are driving a shift from focusing mostly on making college more accessible to getting more students through with a diploma or certificate.

Mark Schneider, a vice president at the American Institutes for Research and former commissioner of the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, said the report's goal is to spotlight the costs of losing students after year one, the most common exit door in college.

"We're all about college completion right now, and I agree 100 percent with the college completion agenda and we need a better-educated adult population and workforce," Schneider said.

The report takes into account spending on average per-student state appropriations, state grants and federal grants, such as Pell grants for low-income students, then reaches its cost conclusions based on student retention rates.

The cost of educating students who drop out after one year account for between 2 to 8 percent of states' total higher education appropriations, Schneider said. He said the report emphasizes state spending because states provide most higher education money and hold the most regulatory sway over institutions and can drive change.

Ohio, for example, has moved toward using course and degree completion rates in determining how much money goes to its public colleges and universities instead of solely using enrollment figures.

"We recognize an institution is not going to be perfect on graduation and completion rates," said Eric Fingerhut, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. "But at the same time, we know they can do better than they're doing. And if you place the financial rewards around completion, then you will motivate that."

The AIR report draws from Department of Education data, which Schneider concedes does not provide a full picture.

The figures track whether new full-time students at 1,521 public and private colleges and universities return for year two at the same institution. It doesn't include part-timers, transfers or students who come back later and graduate.

The actual cost to taxpayers may run two to three times higher given those factors and others, including the societal cost of income lost during dropouts' year in college, said Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economics professor. And tying state appropriations to student performance could just cause colleges to lower their standards, he said.

Robert Lerman, an American University economics professor who, like Vedder, questions promoting college for all, said the report fleshes out the reality of high dropout rates. But he said it could just as easily be used to argue that less-prepared, less-motivated students are better off not going to college.

"Getting them to go a second year might waste even more money," Lerman said. "Who knows?"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

For-Profit Colleges Mislead Students, Report Finds


Published: August 3, 2010

Undercover investigators posing as students interested in enrolling at 15 for-profit colleges found that recruiters at four of the colleges encouraged prospective students to lie on their financial aid applications — and all 15 misled potential students about their programs’ cost, quality and duration, or the average salary of graduates, according to a federal report.

The report and its accompanying video are to be released publicly Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, at an oversight hearing on for-profit colleges by the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions.

The report does not identify the colleges involved, but it includes both privately held and publicly traded institutions in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C. According to the report, the colleges in question were chosen because they got nearly 90 percent of their revenues from federal aid, or they were in states that are among the top 10 recipients of Title IV money.

The fast-growing for-profit education industry, which received more than $4 billion in federal grants and $20 billion in Department of Education loans last year, has become a source of concern, with many lawmakers suggesting that too much taxpayer money is being used to generate profits for the colleges, instead of providing students with a useful high-quality education.

The report gave specific instances in which some colleges encouraged fraud. At one college in Texas, a recruiter encouraged the undercover investigator not to report $250,000 in savings, saying it was “not the government’s business.” At a Pennsylvania college, the financial representative told an undercover applicant who had reported a $250,000 inheritance that he should have answered “zero” when asked about money he had in savings — and then told him she would “correct” his form by reducing the reported assets to zero, a change she later confirmed by e-mail and voicemail.

At a college in California, an undercover investigator was encouraged to list three nonexistent dependents on the financial aid application.

In addition to the colleges that encouraged fraud, all the colleges made some deceptive statements. At one certificate program in Washington, for example, the admissions representative told the undercover applicant that barbers could earn $150,000 to $250,000 a year, when the vast majority earn less than $50,000 a year. And at an associate degree program in Florida, the report said, a prospective student was falsely told that the college was accredited by the same organization that accredits Harvard and the University of Florida.

According to the report, courses in massage therapy and computer-aided drafting that cost $14,000 at a California for-profit college were presented as good values, when the same courses cost $520 at a local community college.

Six colleges in four states told the undercover applicants that they could not speak with financial aid representatives or find out what grants and loans they were eligible for until they completed enrollment forms agreeing to become a student and paid a small application fee.

And one Florida college owned by a publicly traded company told an undercover applicant that she needed to take a 50-question test, and answer 18 questions correctly, to be admitted — and then had a representative sit with her and coach her through the test. A representative at that college encouraged the applicant to sign an enrollment contract, while assuring her it was not legally binding.

But in some instances, the report said, the applicants were given accurate and helpful information, about likely salaries and not taking out more loans than they needed

Friday, July 16, 2010

Student Loan Default Rates Come Under Scrutiny


Defaulting on student loans is a serious matter, and The Chronicle of Higher Education has recently unearthed data finding that students are defaulting at rates far higher than previously thought. In an article on Sunday entitled “Government Vastly Undercounts Defaults,” The Chronicle studied numbers on the repayment of student loans going back 15 years, finding that defaults only increased over time.

Especially alarming were the numbers for two-year and for-profit colleges, with 40 percent of students who borrowed loans to attend for-profit institutions defaulting since 1995. This data comes just when for-profit colleges are being subjected to federal scrutiny in part because of the amount of federal financial aid they draw and the amount they spend on expenses other than teaching. “While for-profits educate less than 10 percent of students, those colleges’ students received close to a quarter of Pell Grant and federal-student-loan dollars in 2008,” according to the Chronicle article.

In 2009-10, the average for-profit charged about $14,000 in tuition and fees while the average community college charged about $2,500. In total, $50.8 billion worth of loans were in default by the end of the 2009 fiscal year, compared with $39.1 billion at the end of the 2008 fiscal year.

As the article points out, defaulting on student loans can create a variety of difficulties for borrowers, including making them unable to receive further federal aid and less likely to get loans, credit cards and jobs. They also face higher interest rates, and the government may take repayment money from their paychecks and taxes.

The Chronicle has also taken a look at how colleges are working to keep their default rates down, as well as how for-profit institutions could violate new federal regulations on default rates.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Announcements and Updates 7/14/10

We are excited to announce that we will be filming our first commercial for this coming Saturday, July 17.

UPDATE 7/17/10: Filming for our commercial has been postponed, check back soon! Development Update: Database development is >50% complete!

Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why My True Salary?

Greetings, folks. My name is Angela and I'm involved with public relations/market research for the up-and-coming I want to take a few minutes to introduce myself and share my perspective on why is an important project.

I have my B.A. in Psychology (no student loan debt) and my M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling ($90K in student loans). I chose to pursue studies in fields that were personally interesting. Fast Forward: In my field work I came to realize that personal interest in learning material doesn't always equate to the best fit in terms of career. I'm currently employed in the field of Early Childhood Special Education doing a variety of things, some which relate (and many that do not) to my background in psychology and counseling. Though I enjoyed my studies, the reality is that if I had been given more information about my undergraduate major and graduate program in terms of career options/outlook, as well as best-fit careers, I may have made very different choices about which path to pursue. As it is, I'm faced with a huge pile of loan debt which my current job trajectory can't even begin to conquer...

In these troubled economic times, there is no doubt in our minds that students will continue to be faced with similar situations. Our goal with is to provide the information necessary to allow students to make the most informed and personally appropriate decisions in terms of their futures. Luckily, I've come to realize the value of my education and its uses beyond the limitations of the mental health/education field. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a well-rounded team such as what we have at, the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More college students are choosing classes over time at the beach - The Boston Globe

More college students are choosing classes over time at the beach - The Boston Globe

Inflated Grades = More Attractive Resumes

The following is a direct quote from today's New York Times article titled In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That:

“If somebody’s paying $150,000 for a law school degree, you don’t want to call them a loser at the end,” says Stuart Rojstaczer, a former geophysics professor at Duke who now studies grade inflation. “So you artificially call every student a success.”

Check out the rest of this article at:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Student Debt Crisis

The following article was recently published in the New York Times. It does an excellent job describing the current student debt crisis that many graduates face.

Welcome to My True Salary

Welcome to My True Salary's blog, bringing you the latest news and updates about and related topics.

The project is currently in development. Please check back here for announcements and press releases as we get closer to launch.

Feel free to read about us, our mission, and the My True Salary project. There are a lot of exciting things in store.