A new report from Georgetown University on median ROI for students shows that graduates from liberal arts universities obtain one of the highest returns on their investment in education over the long term, when compared to other kinds of institutions.

Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce recently published “ROI of Liberal Arts Colleges: Value Adds Up Over Time,” which shows that students from liberal arts colleges earn more than those who attended trade or business schools in the long run. At 10 years after enrollment, the median liberal arts ROI is only $62,000, compared with $107,000 for all institutions, but the median ROI of liberal arts colleges eventually climbs to $918,000, compared to a median of $723,000 for all colleges combined. Over the long-term, the ROI of liberal arts colleges was nearly as high as that of doctoral universities with the two highest levels of research activity.

"Liberal arts education gives students the necessary skills to advance in their careers," said Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. “Employers are looking for employees who can advance in the profession, not just entry-level work,” she said. “That will be the future of the work force.”

The value of a liberal arts education has come into question as many students are opting for undergraduate study options with direct career paths, shorter time frames and lower tuition costs. This study suggests not only that a liberal arts education helps to give students the perspectives that are necessary for leadership, but that it also has quantifiable value over time in terms of career advancement and earnings.

For more information, see also Bennet Leckrone’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.