The gap between a college and high-school diploma for full-time, salaried workers at least 25 years-old is 78 percent.
There is no question. When Affluent household surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner are asked if a college education is necessary in today’s workplace, more than eight-in-ten said yes. When asked if their college education contributed to their success, nine-in-ten said yes. But with rising tuition costs, mounting student debt and a challenging job market that leaves a majority of college graduates either unemployed or under-employed, one question gaining traction is: Is college worth it?
The answer is a resounding yes, according to data calculated by Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York blog, Liberty Street Economics. “Despite what appears to be a set of alarming trends,” they write, the value of a bachelor’s degree for the average graduate has held near its all time high of about $300,000 for more than a decade.
The value of a four-year college degree has rebounded after plummeting from about $120,000 in the early 1970s to about 80,000 in the 1980s, Abel and Deitz estimate. There is a negative cash flow during the first four college years, followed by a positive cash flow during one’s working career, the researchers state.
They also show that today it takes half as long to recoup the costs of a bachelor’s degree—about 10 years--than it did in the late 1970s.
Other studies would seem to indicate that beyond whether one can afford to attain a bachelor’s degree, another question is whether they can afford not to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the gap between a college and high-school diploma for full-time, salaried workers at least 25 years-old is 78 percent.
Consideration of the worth of a college degree has become more parsed in recent years, with studies finding that some college degrees are worth more than others. Roughly four-in-ten Affluent households surveyed by Millionaire Corner said that the degrees offered is one of the primary factors considered in choosing a college. This consideration ranks behind quality of education, reputation and cost.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.