Friday, November 7, 2014

Degrees and Salaries: The Cost of Not Going to College

We’re all aware that the higher degree you earn, the more income you’ll make over a lifetime. A recent infographic by Pennsylvania HigherEducation Assistance Agency (PHEAA) brings this point home by visualizing the differences.

While the contrasts in salary are clear when looking at it from an annual perspective, the gap is magnified if you consider what these numbers mean over a lifetime. For example, a high school graduate will earn $976, 550 over a 30 year career span. Compare that with an associate’s degree and the earnings jump to $1,196,520, and for those who go on to compete their bachelor’s degree the lifetime salary jumps to $1,619,280.

But annual salary isn’t the only financial benefit for getting a college degree. College graduates are much more likely to be employed throughout their lifetimes. This is particularly true during slow economic periods and recessions. From 2007 – 2011 during the Great Recession, the highest unemployment rate for high school graduates stood at 11% while the unemployment rate for college graduates was half of that at 5.5 percent. As of September 2014, the unemployment rate for college graduates had dropped to 2.9 percent.

Here’s the infographic from PHEAA. What are your thoughts on the connection between college degrees and salary?

*Click here to enlarge.