Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Value of a College Education

Everyone attending college hears the quote “People with a bachelor’s degree earn a million more dollars over their lifetime” but what does this really mean. A recent nationwide analysis of degree data by Zaback & Crellin, (2012) shows that people who receive a bachelor’s make more than 71% than those with a HS diploma. That study also broke down the wage increase by field which is more helpful when considering what to major in. The two highest paying fields are Science/ Technology /Math (STEM) and Health care and this is true for both bachelor’s and associates degrees.

Another common myth is the Bill Gates story that if he doesn’t need college then you don’t either because college costs are rising. While, college cost have risen well over 200% so has the gap in income between those that attend college and those that don’t and the unemployment rate for college grads is significantly lower than those without college. In statistics, we measure things using the bell curve and it’s assumed that 95% of people fall into the same category. Bill Gates does not fall into the 95% of the population. Actually, a study by Wadhwa, Saxenian & Siciliano (2005) showed that of 500 startup companies founded those started by college graduates performed better than those started by someone with a HS diploma. The knowledge that a college education imparts is critical thinking and learning how to structure your thoughts along a proven framework based on hundreds of years of research by scholars and researchers.

Yes, college costs have risen dramatically and this is why researching the right major and school is so critical to transitioning to a college environment. If you’re planning on attending college and unsure of the economic value of a major then a good place to start researching is

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