Is College Worth the Expense?

A new Wall Street Journal article shows that Americans are losing faith in the value of a college degree. With the rising yearly costs of tuition and fees, many do not feel as if the cost is worth it. With government budget cuts and the burden that student loans can place on you, it is easy to feel like skipping out on college may be the best option, but is it really?

Everyone’s path in life is and will be different, and college may not be for everyone – it is all subjective to the individual. What do you think? If you believe that college is absolutely not worth it, that is okay. However, we’ve compiled a list of benefits that come from attending college and earning a degree.

Higher earning potential

Annually, college graduates earn, on average, about $32,000 more than those with only a high school diploma.

On average:

  • A high school dropout can expect to earn $973,000 over a lifetime.
  • Someone with a high school diploma can expect to earn $1.3 million over a lifetime.
  • A worker with some college but no degree earns $1.5 million over a lifetime.
  • An Associate’s degree-holder earns $1.7 million over a lifetime.
  • A worker with a Bachelor’s degree will earn $2.3 million over a lifetime.

Graduate degrees capture even higher earnings:

  • A Master’s degree-holder earns $2.7 million over a lifetime.
  • A Doctoral degree-holder earns $3.3 million over a lifetime.
  • A Professional degree-holder earns $3.6 million over a lifetime.

Capture

Increased Job and Health Security

  • The unemployment rate is 2.7% among college graduates, compared with 5.1% among high school graduates who never attended college
  • Poverty rates among degree holders are about 3.5x lower than those with only a high school degree
  • Bachelor’s degree holders are 47 percent more likely to have health insurance provided through their job and their employers contribute 74 percent more to their health coverage.

*Sources: Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities, ‘How does a college degree improve graduates’ employment and earnings potential?’ ; The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, ‘The College Payoff’

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