Do U students think they’re getting their money’s worth?

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series that looks at student opinions of University spending.

While the University isn’t considered a top value school by US News and World Report , more than half of its students call the education they’re receiving a “good value,” according to the Daily’s University Spending survey.

About 65 percent also think a degree from the school will help them be successful candidates in the job market that seems to be currently favorable to students.

Despite a sluggish economy, employers will increase entry-level hiring by 12.9 percent in 2008 , according to survey results from CollegeGrad .com, an Internet job search service.

However, 59 percent of students who took the Daily’s survey said they are at least somewhat concerned about finding a job after graduation. A quarter said they are either “very or extremely concerned.”

Those worries became the real thing for recent biomedical engineering graduate Scott Kramer.

Despite holding a yearlong internship last year, Kramer said he and his peers weren’t properly prepared for the job force during their time at the University.

He said training wasn’t specialized enough and that connections with those already in the industry weren’t encouraged.

“Academically, they prepared us very well,” he said. “Professionally, I don’t think we were very well prepared.”

Kramer, however, said the school offers a solid product for its price tag – although he’s from Wisconsin and receives reciprocity, he said.

“Compared to comparable programs around the country that are charging two or three times as much for tuition, I’d say the value is very high,” Kramer said.

The estimated total cost a Minnesota undergraduate resident living in a residence hall or off-campus for the 2007-08 school year was $20,250, according to the University.

The cost for nonresidents in that situation was more than 50 percent higher, at $31,880.

The University had the fifth-highest tuition in the Big Ten for state residents during the 2007-08 school year and the ninth-highest for non-residents, according to tuition data from the conference’s schools.

Survey results showed 34 percent of students said they thought the University costs more than other schools they considered. However, 28 percent called the costs about the same and 24 percent said the cost is less.

Coming from Chicago , recent biomedical graduate Brittany Cull didn’t receive reciprocity rates and said the University’s cost was still a concern even though she received scholarships.

“I still think the cost of college is quite high at the University of Minnesota, once you consider lab fees, books, and housing especially,” Cull said, adding that the cost can be outweighed if a student finds a good job out of college.

Cull said she worked at a career center while at the University and that helped get her ready for the professional world and find the job she’s lined up for fall.

“Overall, I was comfortable with the workplace atmosphere and transition from academia to industry,” she said.

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart said there are programs for students to get prepared for the workforce.

Rinehart said each college conducts surveys six months after students graduate. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about where students are after graduation, he said.