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The worth of a college degree

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Is Your College Degree Worth It? Find Out. College Degrees Are Valuable Even for Careers That Don’t Require Them. ALMOST a century ago, the United States decided to make high school nearly universal.

College Degrees Are Valuable Even for Careers That Don’t Require Them

Around the same time, much of Europe decided that universal high school was a waste. Not everybody, European intellectuals argued, should go to high school. It’s clear who made the right decision. The educated American masses helped create the American century, as the economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz have written. The new ranks of high school graduates made factories more efficient and new industries possible. Today, we are having an updated version of the same debate. The argument has the lure of counterintuition and does have grains of truth.

The evidence is overwhelming that college is a better investment for most graduates than in the past. “Sending more young Americans to college is not a panacea,” says David Autor, an M.I.T. economist who studies the labor market. The most unfortunate part of the case against college is that it encourages children, parents and schools to aim low.

College degree is still worth the (very considerable) cost. With college costs soaring and new graduates struggling to land jobs, is higher education still worth the money?

College degree is still worth the (very considerable) cost

Yes, according to an analysis by one recent college graduate who has studied the issue carefully. Sarah Millar, who is now gainfully employed as a research analyst at ConvergEx Group in New York, examined the topic in a new report combining empirical data with her own experience as a 2011 graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. "Did I just waste the last four years of my life? " Millar writes. "Sure, I enjoyed my time at Trinity, but I could have used that time -- and money, for that matter -- to actually start a career. " (Millar points out that she wrote a 200-page senior thesis, in English and Spanish, on democratic transitions in Spain and Portugal -- which, if nothing else, raises questions about the exacting standards of her alma mater.) The good news is that college pays off, Millar concludes, citing data from a variety of government and private sources. Experts disagree whether earning a college degree is worth the expense.

Many high school seniors and their parents are in the throes of deciding which college to attend and figuring out how to pay for it.

Experts disagree whether earning a college degree is worth the expense

The biggest question for those in the freshman applicant pool is where to enroll, not whether to go at all. Yet behind those family-by-family discussions is a larger economic debate: Does it make financial sense for such a large swath of American society to attend college in the first place? No one questions that college can be a life-changing experience intellectually and socially. But in a recent flurry of books and studies, economists and other experts focus on whether lifelong earnings are boosted enough by a diploma to make all the tuition costs and student debt worthwhile. And in a controversial challenge, a Silicon Valley businessman is offering coveted subsidies to bright young people who drop out or forego college to chase dreams of high-tech inventions and entrepreneurship. On the strongly pro-college side, Mary C. How Much More Money Do College Grads Make? By far, one of the biggest advantages to going to college is that you’ll be qualified for more high-paying jobs in most fields.

How Much More Money Do College Grads Make?

While this doesn’t always hold true, college grads do, on average, make a lot more money than workers who just have a high school diploma. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the annual salary average differences between educational levels is staggering: High school drop outs: $18,734High school graduates: $27,915College grads (with a bachelor’s degree): $51,206Advanced degree holders: $74,602 That means, over the course or working 40 years, someone with a high school diploma will make $1,116,600 while someone with a bachelor’s degree will make $2,048,204. The job market is only getting more competitive, too. It isn’t just about skill level or talent, after all. College presents you with challenges that you don’t find in high school, and gives you independence and opportunities that you wouldn’t get any other way.