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College ROI Report ranks UW-Eau Claire among top in Wisconsin and Minnesota

May 7, 2014

Editor's note: This news release was updated on May 16, 2014.

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire ranks among the top three colleges and universities in Wisconsin and Minnesota — public or private — in annual return on investment (ROI) for students who pay in-state tuition and receive financial aid, according to the 2014 PayScale.com College ROI Report.

UW-Eau Claire's annual ROI is 10.4 percent, according to the recently released report. UW-Platteville and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities are the only higher education institutions in Wisconsin or Minnesota with higher annual ROI rankings, according to the report.

PayScale.com's annual ROI rankings compare a person's return over 20 years when investing their money in a degree at a certain school, as opposed to investing their money in other ways, like the stock market or bonds.

"Our students' investment in a UW-Eau Claire degree is paying off," said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. "Their annual ROI is greater than it would be had they gone to college almost anywhere else in Wisconsin or Minnesota."

Reciprocity agreements between Wisconsin and Minnesota allow students from Minnesota to pay in-state tuition when attending public universities in Wisconsin.

The ROI rankings are especially meaningful given UW-Eau Claire's liberal arts emphasis, Schmidt said.

"Our graduates are critical thinkers, creative problem-solvers, innovators and effective communicators, and they know how to work as part of a team," Schmidt said. "Our students develop the kinds of interpersonal skills that employers in all fields tell us they highly value. Their investment in a liberal-arts-based education is paying off. "

Schmidt said even more encouraging news for Blugolds comes from recent reports regarding college graduate indebtedness.

UW-Eau Claire graduates who took out student loans have the lowest average debt among similar graduates from all UW System universities, according to the UW System's Student Financial Aid: 2012-13 report. The report states that, after earning a bachelor's degree, UW-Eau Claire graduates who took out student loans had an average debt of $25,739, below the $29,219 UW System average.

Taken together, UW-Eau Claire's high ROI rankings and low student indebtedness numbers demonstrate how well the university is positioning its students for future success, Schmidt said.

"While many of our graduates will have some loan debt when they leave here, for most of them it will not be overwhelming," Schmidt said. "Their investment in their UW-Eau Claire degree will pay off in terms of higher earnings over a relatively short amount of time."

PayScale.com's 2014 College ROI Report follows other national recognitions noting UW-Eau Claire's quality and value. Recent examples are UW-Eau Claire's inclusion in The Princeton Review's 150 "Best Value Colleges for 2014" in the United States and Washington Monthly's 2013 "Best Bang for the Buck" rankings.

PayScale.com's 2014 College ROI Report is available online.

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