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Students respond to ECU PayScale report

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Imagine spending tens of thousands of dollars on higher education and then, being told it may have been a waste of money.

That’s exactly what's happening with some students at East Carolina University after seeing a report published online.

According to PayScale, people who graduate with an education degree from ECU have one of the lowest 20-year net returns in the nation.

The report finds, within 20 years, a typical high-school grad will have out-earned ECU education majors by about $132,000.

The report is certainly controversial and many students at ECU say they don't buy it.

"I think it's sad to hear something like that considering how important education is," said senior, Robert DiDomenico.

"If that's what you're passionate about and that's what you want to do, then go for it,” said sophomore Josy Christian. “Don't listen to that kind of stuff."

That’s what current students have to say about the report from PayScale, which claims people who graduate with an education degree from ECU won’t make enough money to justify what they spent on that degree.

"I don't think you can really waste your money on an education degree," said English and education student, Carrie Slappey.

ECU administrators released a statement stating: “The PayScale report is based solely on self-reported earnings and not on any factor or data that reflects the quality or effectiveness of East Carolina's education program or its graduates. That appears to disqualify its findings and make them more about the salary levels of the profession and our graduates' primary locations than about ECU. The pay aligns with the fact that North Carolina ranks near the bottom of the list for teacher salaries, and most of our graduates stay in North Carolina. Our education graduates and their degrees provide great "value" to the communities they serve, many of them rural. For that reason, we believe this particular report's findings do not offer a meaningful or realistic measure of the "value" of an education degree from East Carolina University.

"I've had great experiences with the educational faculty here, so I think it depends on how you apply yourself with that education degree,” said education sophomore, Zachary Evans.

9 On Your Side reached out to PayScale about their 2014 College Return on Investment Report. Executive Lydia Frank gave us the following statement: "We support people going into the Education field - it is a field that is so crucial and necessary. But we think people need to be aware that not all schools are equal in terms of return on their tuition investment. And, it’s good to be aware of earning potential post-graduation before you dig yourself into a hole in terms of student loan debt."

Still, some current ECU education students say it’s not about the return on investment.

"I wouldn't say I'd put a number on my education,” admitted Slappey.

She says it’s about the reward of a career and if she’s making a difference as a teacher, she’s achieved her goal.

"Knowing what I know through East Carolina University and gaining the knowledge of how to teach other students it makes me want to go out and change it,” said Slappey.

Representatives with PayScale say the data collected is from full-time employed ECU grads who took an employment survey.

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