How Much More Money Can I Make with a Degree?

A college degree can be beneficial for many reasons. It can expand your job opportunities, increase your fund of knowledge and pump up your self-esteem. But one result in particular weighs heaviest in favor of pursuing a higher education: earning a degree can mean you’ll make much more money over your lifetime.

True or False? College Degree Equals Higher Income.

Of course, there are plenty of variables to consider when evaluating the income advantage of a degree. Specific degree earned, industry and occupation, work experience, intangibles such as ambition and drive. But over the years, several quantitative studies have shown that, in broad terms, earning a degree leads to significantly higher lifetime earnings.

How much more money with a degree? 45% in 1979

According to a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 1979, people with a bachelor’s degree could expect to earn 45% more than those with only a high school diploma over the course of a working life.

Higher earnings with a degree: 53% more

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles and aggregates data regarding occupations, income and education. Current figures from the U.S.B.L.S. show college degree holders earning 53% more than those with high school diplomas.

In 2007: 61% more income for those with college degrees

A research study from the U.S. Census Bureau published in 2007 shows college graduates earning an average of 61% more than their high-school educated counterparts.

Bear in mind, these numbers are averages from a variety of different studies looking at data from a wide range of time-frames, occupations and degree types. But the basic conclusion is clear: in the long term you’re likely to make significantly more money with a college degree.

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