New Report Examines the Value of a College Degree

By Catherine Groux
Posted December 20, 2012 11:00 AM

A new report analyzes the true value of a college degree.
A new report analyzes the true value of a college degree.
When students decide to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree, they are making a large investment of their time and money. In a new report, the association of State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) determined exactly how much students can expect to earn as a result of this important investment.

The new data shows that bachelor's degree holders earn a median income of $50,360 per year, while associate's degree holders earn an average of $38,607. At the same time, those who only have a high school diploma tend to earn about $29,423 per year, which is 41.6% less than those who completed a bachelor's degree and 23.8% less than those who completed an associate's.

While the exact amount college graduates will earn varies depending on the industry they work in and the state they live in, SHEEO President Paul Lingenfelter said the message of the report remains the same - college graduates tend to make more money than high school graduates.

"This study digs beneath the anecdotes to give an in-depth look at the financial returns to graduates by discipline and among the states," Lingenfelter said. "The more deeply and completely one examines the evidence, the more compelling the conclusion - higher education is a great investment for both the student and society as a whole, no matter where you live, no matter what you study."

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