Attending a college or university is an expensive journey, one that takes a lot of determination, persistence and drive. Along with these strong character traits, attending college costs money! Some young adults might wonder if earning a college degree today is worth their time, effort and dollars. Read on to gather a bit more CENTS on the subject.
The average one-year difference in earnings for a college graduate over a high school graduate will pay nearly two-and-a-half years of tuition and fees at a four-year public college. With a high school diploma only, the average full-time worker earned $652 per week in 2012, or $33,904 for 52 weeks, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bachelor’s degree graduates earned an average of $1,066 per week, or $55,432 annually — a difference of $21,528 per year.
A 2012 Census Bureau report estimates the lifetime earnings of American workers by educational level, calculated from 2011 statistics in its American Community Survey. The report predicts $1.371 million in lifetime earnings for a high school graduate with no higher education compared with $2.422 million for a four-year bachelor’s degree graduate. This gives a college graduate a lifetime earnings advantage of more than $1 million. All Census Bureau estimates assume continual full-time work for 40 years starting at age 25.
A higher rate of employment for college graduates contributes to the lifetime earnings gap between college and high school graduates. In February 2013, for example, only 3.8 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher were unemployed, compared with 7.9 percent of high school graduates, according to BLS statistics. Your particular major also helps determine your chances of full-time employment, reports the Census Bureau. Engineering, science, business, math and computer science graduates have the highest likelihood of year-round, full-time work, while graduates in the arts, humanities and education are less likely to have jobs.
It not only makes sense to persist with your education through to earning a college degree, it also makes CENTS!