The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Financial Worth of a College Degree - 6/3/14

In recent years, some of the shine has worn off the notion of acquiring a college degree.  Young people today have become increasingly focused upon the perils of accumulating student debt and have also become acutely aware that having a college degree is hardly a guarantee of successful economic outcomes.  But new analysis produced by the Economic Policy Institute suggests that the economic argument in favor of college degree acquisition remains potent.  The pay gap between college graduates and everyone else reached a record high last year. 

Americans with 4-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree.  As reported by writer David Leonhardt, that’s up from 89 percent five years earlier, 85 percent from a decade earlier and 64 percent during the early 1980s.  In other words, the value of a college degree is on the rise.  Importantly, the analysis indicates that the benefits of college don’t simply inure to the benefit of graduates of elite colleges.  That said, the largest gains appear to be associated with people with four-year degrees.