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Skipping College Can Cost You $800,000

In this  Saturday, April 26, 2008, file photo, University of Michigan graduates celebrate after their spring commencement ceremony, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File)
In this Saturday, April 26, 2008, file photo, University of Michigan graduates celebrate after their spring commencement ceremony, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File)

 

(Slate) – It might be the hottest question in higher education today: Is a college degree still worth its cost? Despite soaring tuitions, a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco finds, the general answer is yes: The average U.S. college graduate can expect to earn at least $800,000 more than the average high school graduate over a lifetime. Not surprisingly, the so-called earnings premium that a college degree bestows increases with each additional year out from graduation.

Using U.S. survey data on income, the Fed study finds that a college student who pays $21,200 or less in annual tuition (some 90 percent of students at public four-year colleges and 20 percent of those at private nonprofit institutions) can expect to recoup that investment by age 38.

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