College Grads Make 98% More Than Everyone Else
But does that mean that college is 'worth it'?
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted May 27, 2014 2:32 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – With college costs constantly rising, and graduates facing increasing economic challenges, more and more people are wondering if college is worth it. To which David Leonhardt at the New York Times offers a simple, straightforward answer: "Yes … and it's not even close." Leonhardt cites a new Economic Policy Institute study based on Labor Department statistics showing that the average four-year college grad makes 98% more per hour than their non-graduate counterpart, up from 89% five years earlier.

That indicates that even as the number of graduates rises, there's still a shortage. "A four-year degree has probably never been more valuable." Rising costs shouldn't scare graduates, either; the study estimates that a degree's true average cost is negative $500,000. Sure graduates face challenges, and a degree doesn't guarantee success. "But of course it doesn't. Nothing guarantees success." Still, Matthew Yglesias at Vox isn't impressed by the numbers. If you made a chart of the earnings of BMW owners' incomes versus average Americans, it would show that BMWs were "worth it," too, he points out. We'd need more rigorous research to know if college itself powers wages, particularly for marginal students.

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omerta33
May 28, 2014 1:09 PM CDT
of course it's going to show the people with 4 degrees make more. most people who go to good 4 year colleges (excluding such companies/institutions such as university of pheonix etc) are upper-class in the first place. most of them probably don't even need to go to college in order to secure a good paying job later in life. the group you really need to look at are people from working class backgrounds who get 4 year degrees. you'll find that here it matters much more what the person studied in college than for it does for the wealthy kids. the working class kids who studied to become a lawyer, doctor, or any of the hard sciences will be doing much better than working class kids who majored in romance languages or art history. because there are only so many cushy museum jobs and guess who gets the large majority them? yeah the wealthy/connected kids who majored in art history, not the poor ones who don't really know anybody, whose family doesn't know anyone. which is why working class kids who go to 4 year colleges basically need to major in law or one of the sciences to ensure that the investment pays off. to not major in one of these fields if you are from a working class background is really kind of risky. (likely have to go to grad school right after college to specialize/learn something marketable, strangely this usually just amounts to mastering one or another computer software program which you can do by yourself. but employers want to see a name of a reputable institution.).
Tology
May 28, 2014 8:36 AM CDT
So, a little less than twice minimum wage. So much for education really paying off. When everyone has a degree, they kind of become meaningless.
coolplanet
May 28, 2014 12:34 AM CDT
O Geez! They're so close to the 1% and have a better consensus than climate scientists. I just hope that their money can buy us out of this massive mess.