Though college prices are soaring, it’s still worth your while to get that degree.
College graduates ages 25 to 32 make, on average, $US17,500 more a year than people with just a high school diploma, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. They are also significantly less likely to be unemployed, with a 3.8% unemployment rate versus a 21.8% rate for high school grads.
Are those advantages still worth the hefty price tag and debt load that today’s four-year degree can carry?
Absolutely yes, says Pew. Nine in 10 millennials say their college degree has already paid off or will pay off in the future. “Even among the two-thirds of college-educated millennials who borrowed money to pay for their schooling, about nine-in-10 (86%) say their degrees have been worth it or expect that they will be in the future,” Pew explains.
Moreover, 22% of millennials with only a high school diploma are living in poverty, compared to 6% of those with a college degree. And that’s significantly higher than in the late 1970s, when just 7% of Baby Boomers in their late 20s and early 30s with a high school diploma were living in poverty.
Pew says much of this shift can be attributed to the diminishing value of a high school diploma.
“While earnings of those with a college degree rose, the typical high school graduate’s earnings fell by more than $US3,000, from $US31,384 in 1965 to $US28,000 in 2013,” the report says. “This decline, the Pew Research analysis found, has been large enough to nearly offset the gains of college graduates.”
The study was based on responses from more than 2,000 adults worldwide, of which 982 were ages 18 to 34.