The Catholic University of America

Jerry Muller, department chair, history, was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on college rankings. See below.

The New Math of College Rankings

From: Wall Street Journal
Date: Nov. 1, 2015
Author: Jillian Berman

...

Some critics, however, continue to say that college-search tools that focus too intently on financial data miss the point of college. Zeroing in on factors like the average salary of graduates or students’ ability to repay loans “cheapens and frankly distorts” the true purpose of college, says Jerry Z. Muller, a history professor at Catholic University of America.

The true return on investment in a college often can’t be measured in monetary terms, he says. According to Mr. Muller, the success of a college experience can be better understood through whether a person learns to think critically, becomes more interesting and interested in the world and turns into a better job candidate, friend or life partner.

If financials become too large of a consideration in the college-search process, Mr. Muller says, schools may become hesitant to admit students they don’t think will be financially successful.

Colleges may also shift their priorities away from providing students with a well-rounded education and instead focus on only high-earning fields.

In that case, says Mr. Muller, “they might as well shut down the classics department.”

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