Several recent studies are pointing up the fact that, while wages overall are rising only slowly, the gap between those who finish college degrees and those who don’t is growing tremendously:
- The gap that exists between earnings of college grads and those without college degrees hit an all time high in 2013. In fact, across the U.S., people with a 4-year college degree earned a whopping 98% more on average than those without a degree. And that number has risen 89% in just five years.
- NOT having a college degree actually will cost you about $500,000 over the cost of your lifetime, according to the journal Science, which concludes that the true cost of a college degree is negative $500,000.
- You don’t need to have a master’s degree to improve your lifetime earnings, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The earnings gap between people who have only a bachelor’s degree and those who don’t is steadily rising.
- Students need to finish their degrees to get a lifetime earnings benefit. EPI also reports that those who attend some college without completing a four-year degree are not seeing rising wage premiums over those who attend no college.
- Student debt is often exaggerated in the media. Although some people do walk away from college or grad school with oversized loan debt to pay off, the average student in the U.S. graduates with about $25,000. in total school debt according to EPI. That is a small percentage of the benefit of a degree.