The Final Final

We are just wrapping up our first year of the CLU MS Econ program.  In fact, my students are taking their final as I write this.

On a personal level, it’s been very rewarding.  When we started the program, some people outside of CLU claimed we couldn’t get the program up, running, and accredited in our time frame.  We did though, with a lot of help from the University.  Three months after Dan, Kirk, and I came here, we had a program, accreditation, and students.  Our accreditation came with commendations and no criticisms or recommendations.

Watching the students has been far more rewarding.  They have learned a lot.  They can now do advanced econometric analysis and forecasting.  They can competently analyze economic proposals and discussions. They can write policy briefs.  The can formulate and defend an economic argument.

For me, it has been a huge pleasure to get to know and work with these bright young people, and to see them gain in capability and confidence.

Being an economist, I have to ask myself if the students received their money’s worth.  I think so.  On a strict accounting basis, the question is: Did the change in the expected present value of their future income stream exceed the costs of the program?  Probably.  The MS provides a signal to potential employers that should result in higher income, and these students can meet any reasonable employer’s expectations.

On the cost side, the weak economy likely means that the students’ opportunity costs were relatively low.  Direct costs were not too high, probably less than $30,000 including books and such.  So, it wouldn’t take much of an incremental income increase to make the year they spent studying economics pay for them.

I hope the value of the year was much more than an increase in the net present value of the students’ lifetime income.  I hope the program was fun for them, that they enjoyed the discovery that comes with a year studying one subject at the MS level.  Perhaps most importantly, I hope they find their world a bit easier to understand.

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