From Stem Careers To Degree ROI: Houston Grads Have Liftoff

By Staff Reports

The Houston metro area ranked fourth in a recent listing of the nation’s top places for graduates working in fields related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

NerdWallet, the financial literacy website that published the study, noted the University of Houston STEM Center as a factor in the ranking. NerdWallet indicated the center “helps attract and retain students in STEM careers, both locally and nationally.”

“We’re deeply honored by the recognition,” said Professor Bonnie J. Dunbar, director of the UH STEM Center, as well as director of the University’s aerospace engineering program. “It is our intent to try to meet the challenge of increasing the number of engineers and scientists in this nation.”

For UH grads, their degrees are paying off— literally. UH was recognized as one of the “50 Most Affordable Colleges with the Best Return” by Affordable Schools, an online guide to higher education institutions across the country.

In its 2014 rankings, Affordable Schools balanced universities’ tuition costs from the 2013–14 academic year with the expected income of students graduating with bachelor’s degrees. UH’s in-state undergraduate tuition (at the time data was compiled) was $9,318. The salary for graduating students is approximated at $49,500 and mid-career earnings are approximately $85,200. Based on Affordable Schools’ criterion, the 15-year return on investment is $1,010,250.

UH was the only Houston institution to make this list and one of three Texas colleges to be ranked by Affordable Schools. UH’s inclusion in the “50 Most Affordable Colleges” list complements previous rankings that reflect the institution’s commitment to delivering a quality, cost-effective education including ranking No. 4 in Policymic’s “12 Colleges Where Students Get the Best Bang for Their Buck ” (2013) and being listed among U.S. News and World Report’s list of “Colleges that Lead Students to the Least Amount of Debt” (2012).

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