Going to College is Worth About $800,000 More Over a Lifetime, Study Says

Going to College is Worth About $800,000 More Over a Lifetime, Study SaysOver a lifetime, you’ll make at least $800,000 more if you graduate from college, compared to the average high school graduate, says a study published Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
That’s after considering the rising cost of college tuition and the four years of wages lost during a typical undergraduate program, the researchers found.
“Although there are stories of people who skipped college and achieved financial success, for most Americans the path to higher future earnings involves a four-year college degree,” wrote Mary Daly, the San Francisco Fed’s associate director of research, and Leila Bengali, a research associate, in the latest Economic Letter from the regional Fed bank.
High school graduates consistently face unemployment rates about twice as high as those for college graduates, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
“When the labor market takes a turn for the worse, as during recessions, workers with lower levels of education are especially hard-hit,” the researchers said. “Thus, in good times and in bad, those with only a high school education face a lower probability of employment, on top of lower average earnings once employed.”
The researchers go into much more detail as to how they arrived at their conclusion.
“We show that the value of a college degree remains high, and the average college graduate can recover the costs of attending in less than 20 years,” they said.
Once the investment is paid for, it continues to pay dividends throughout the rest of the worker’s life, they added.
But the rising cost of tuition is creating huge burdens of debt for graduates as more and more students turn to college loans to cover tuition, room and board and other fees.

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