New data affirms the value of college degree in the US

May 29, 2014

New data from the US reaffirms the economic value of a college degree. According to the new report, the income gap between college graduates and non-college graduates in the US hit an all-time high in 2013, with graduates earning 98% more per hour than persons without a degree. 5 years ago the income gap was 89%. At the same time, the wage premium for students who attended college but did not earn a bachelor’s degree remained stagnant. The growing income gap is not likely to be attributable to a rise in wages; rather, it is believed to be caused by a reduction in wages for non-graduates. The average hourly wage for graduates has risen by just 1% since 2003, while the wage for non-graduates has dropped by about 5%. The data nevertheless suggest that a college degree continues to deliver value, in spite of the rising cost of an education and the growing number of graduates; an article published this month in Science has calculated the long-term cost of not going to college at $500,000. New York Times | Science