Return on school investment (Washington Post)

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Maritime Academy ROI Formula:

Taxpayer Subsidized (Or fully funded) Education + Small Graduating Classes + Decently Above Average Salaries from Graduation = Good ROI

Other Maritime Academy ROI Formula:

Structured setting that dictates attendance & punctuality +

Regimented program that requires students to show up properly dressed without a cellphone glued to their palm +

Trade school disguised as colleges that specifically teaches skills to be used by future employers +

Mandatory drug testing & something that resembles an honor code that mostly will be followed =

A young employee that about any professional organization in the world would want to hire when a slot needs to be filled.

If any community college or trade school in the nation used the higher standards of this formula their job placement & ROI factor would be at the top of the list too.


Other than KP they are priced just like any other state school.

That’s the key right there.

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Yes, but taxpayers cover a good portion of the cost per student at all state colleges. The rest of the institutes on the list are private. My point is that were they not subsidized by taxpayers, the two maritime academies would have a different return on investment figure.

I laugh every time I think how taxpayers of New York covered a good portion of my educational costs for me to just move to a tax-free state immediately upon graduation. Probably not fair, but we must all look out for ourselves.

Most of what puts the maritime academies at the top is that they prepare a student for a high wage career right out of school.

A second factor is that a large majority of graduates are engineers.

If the study had only looked at mates, the ratings would have been much lower.

Other important factors are the quality of the students entering, and that weaker students don’t stay at an academy to graduate. At most schools, anyone who pays for five years of tuition graduates.

In general, degree programs that require hard work and prepare one for a specific good paying career where workers are in high demand: pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing, etc. are going to have a good return on investment.

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Yes, and maritime academies were the only “taxpayer subsidized” state schools on the top 10 list out of the thousands in the country.

A maritime grad right out of school will make double a Harvard grad and a fraction of the cost.

$50-70/yr is about what a Harvard grad makes starting out. Most recent 3AEs I know don’t make $100-140/yr. That being said Harvard grads are about like maritime or any other grads in that it is who you know more than your school determining what you make 10 years down the road. Harvard and other “Ivy League” schools are losing some of their reputation now that people know many students are legacy students who would not be admitted under normal circumstances. Jarrod Kushner G.W. Bush and others are examples of legacy admissions, there are many others.
I have found many of these ivy league types to be educated beyond their intelligence.

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Lot of recent graduates in Mariner Magazine are working as oilers. I feel like a lot of these kids were oversold on the ROI. How many 3rds Mate/Eng does the industry really need?

I’m really down on Maine Maritime since they failed one of my cadets who did a top notch job.

Lots of the kids would be better off going to UMaine with a tech degree. Not this subjective BS to try and earn a license.

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I see too many unemployed or underemployed 3rd mates drifting around, but most 3rd engineers seem to have good jobs afloat or ashore.

The Maine Maritime kids who do the five year power engineering program seem to do particularly well.

If I were a young 3rd mate today, I would seriously consider going back to school for a couple years to become an engineer.

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At the maritime academies, there is a large difference in the engineering degree paths offered. At the lowest level USCG license track, the degree should almost be a 2 year associate degree. At the top is an fully ABET accredited engineering degree that allows one to earn a PE license later in life.

At Maine, I believe 5-10% of students choose the ABET path. SUNY is higher, but I’m not sure what the numbers are. Nearly all the schools are overrun with bureaucrats now.

The Power Engineering Technology program is 4 years and no USCG license. The 5 year program is Marine Systems Engineering with license option.

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I think it just takes a little bit of hustle nowadays. I’d rather work on deck for a little than go back to school for another undergrad degree. There are more and more engineers graduating every year, it’s no longer the golden ticket to a good salary that it used to be. When it’s time to go shoreside, I’ll be looking at master’s degrees.

True, as manufacturing has declined in the USA there is less and less of a demand for engineers. When companies need engineers they bring in foreign engineers on contract that will work much cheaper then US engineers. Heck the US engineers can’t pay back student loans if on that kind of salary. Illegal immigration that seems to what everyone is complaining about is not as much of a problem as the legal temp immigration but those that control congress will never let that problem see the light of day. Three of us cousins went to the same university many years ago. Two became PEs. One EE, one CE and me the simple ME. As of 2005, The CE and EE had lost their full time jobs and could only get contract temp work with no benefits. Their firms had gone out of business, replaced by Indian engineering firms. I was by then in shipping and was lucky. For an example of the current culture just look at Boeing. Compare the number of engineers they have now to years past and they are one of the few big manufacturers left.

ABET ME/EE degree to shipping is not too difficult (180days in engine dept). It requires extra STCW classes now to get OICEW, but it’s just a pay and show up thing ($15k last I looked). Lots of options.

One power engineering student used to love to tell us his plan. Graduate with the ABET PET degree, sail for 6 months as a wiper, take his 3rds test. “ALL WITHOUT THAT REGIMENTAL BULLSHIT!” He’d tell us laughing.

My buddy told him: “If you’re ever my wiper I’m gonna make you wear khakis and march around the engine room”.

The PET guy did pretty well shoreside. He’s doing gas turbine installs.

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Also extra sea time. You can’t get OICEW with just 180 days of sea time.