How Much More Can You Earn With a College Degree?

We all know how expensive it’s getting to attend college, and that the question of whether or not it’s worth it to attend college has been debated for years as tuition and fees skyrocket. And the famous dropouts or people who decided to not attend college—Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Adele, Julie Andrews (who dropped out of high school)—and go on to fame and fortune are rare. Also see: The editors of The Awl, or pal Alex Pareene, who dropped out of college to become an editor at Gawker Media. You don’t have to go to college to make something of yourself.

I was the sort of person who thrived in college, and if I could do it all over again, I would definitely go. College was reasonably-priced for me (I attended UC-Irvine as an undergrad), and gave me the opportunity to discover the career path I wanted to take, which I didn’t figure out until my senior year.

People who hold college degrees generally earn a lot more money than those who have only completed high school. Here’s some research by The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland that shows how much.

The premium is calculated as a “ratio of the median hourly wage for those holding a bachelor’s degree and the median hourly wage for those who have only completed high school.”

And here’s the premium by college major categories:

Teachers really are underpaid, aren’t they?


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