- Associated Press - Sunday, December 4, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Figures show North Dakota residents seeking an associate’s degree spend an average of $11,535 annually, but some of those degrees will lead to higher wages and some won’t.

U.S. Department of Education data show some North Dakota campuses garner higher wages for their students, a nearly $16,000 difference between the highest and lowest salary averages from the top 10 two-year schools.

There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the cost of college - based on reported tuition, fees, books, supplies and cost of living expenses for first-time undergraduates - and average salary, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/2gppfZR) reported.

“I think dorm students have more fear with the price of school,” Williston State College student Danielle Layton said. “The on-campus housing costs more than tuition.”

The North Dakota State College of Science outranks the other nine two-year schools with an average salary of $41,300, based on IRS reports for students 10 years after attending college. Students pay nearly $10,600 annually, which is $130 less than Dickinson State University. But data show that Dickinson State students average $2,500 less in salary than NDSCS students.

According to National Student Clearinghouse Research Centers, scholarships may be how colleges steer the drop in college enrollment. Students who graduate high school in 10 counties in western North Dakota and eastern Montana get free tuition and fees for their first two years at Williston State College through the Regional County scholarship.

“Yes, I believe over time, the scholarship will, of course, impact that number, as it allows a student to graduate with less debt and out-of-pocket cost,” according to Heather Fink with Williston State’s financial aid department.


Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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