The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings

The College Payoff

Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings

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College pays off over a lifetime, but occupation, gender, race and ethnicity matter too. The College Payoff also details how some workers can make more than their better-educated counterparts.

Key Findings

1

A Bachelor’s degree is worth $2.8 million on average over a lifetime.
2

Bachelor’s degree holders earn 31 percent more than those with an Associate’s degree and 84 percent more than those with just a high school diploma.
3

Women who work full-time, full-year earn 25 percent less than men at similar education levels.
4

At the highest education level, African Americans and Latinos earn close to a million dollars less than their white and Asian counterparts over a lifetime.

Infographic

In a surprising number of cases, people with less educational attainment earn more than those with more. This graphic represents just how much earnings overlap there is, relative to workers with a Bachelor’s degree.

Resources

A college degree pays off–but by just how much? In The College Payoff, we examine just what a college degree is worth–and what else besides a degree might influence an individual’s potential earnings. This report examines lifetime earnings for all education levels and earnings by occupation, age, race/ethnicity and gender. The data are clear: a college degree is key to economic opportunity, conferring substantially higher earnings on those with credentials than those without.

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Full Report
Executive Summary
PowerPoint
Press Release
Infographic