Is College Still Worth It? Infographic

The cost of attending college can be staggering to many without benefit of scholarships or family inheritance to get them through four years of higher education.

Here’s an infographic put together by Degree Jungle that helps clarify the value an education can bring over a lifetime of earnings. Looks like some statistics majors have been working overtime to illuminate long-term value rather than short term returns.

If you are considering college costs and wonder how long it will take you to see real benefits to your bankroll, consider that most of the return on investment takes a few years. This might help you to see that it’s the long game that really matters. College pays off eventually – but you’ve got to pay back those college loans, then start to see a return after about 15-20 years in the workforce when you are approaching your forties. Quick cash is usually not to be found on the course to college education.

You’ll be glad during middle age and your golden years, but unless you are on a full-ride scholarship or parents have paid for it all, you will learn to enjoy ramen for a bit longer than expected.

But there are those parties to consider…

By Degree Jungle Is College Still Worth It

Is College Still Worth It?

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Over the past 23 years annual tuition costs in US colleges, have risen 4X FASTER – than general inflation rates.

  • 75% of Americans believe TUITION IS UNAFFORDABLE
  • 94% OF PARENTS EXPECT their children to go to college – Why isn’t it 100%?
  • 48% of 18 to 34 year-olds didn’t go to college because it was too expensive


AGE 30

  • High School – $391,200
  • College – $369,656

AGE 40

  • College – $936,656
  • High School – $717,200

AGE 50

  • College – $1,503,656
  • High School – $1,043,200

AGE 65

  • College – $2,354,156
  • High School $1,532,200

College Graduate Spends an average of -$83,944 attaining a 4 year degree four YEARS AFTER GRADUATING High School not considering scholarships or the fixed 3.4% student loan interest rates

Median annual earnings over a career [until age 65):

  • High school diploma or equivalent: $32,600/yr
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: $56,700 / yr

Over a career a Bachelor’s Degree is worth $821,956 more than a high school diploma. That’s 65% more or 9.8 times the cost of a degree.
College Grads Say:

  • 6% maintained it was a poor investment
  • 8 were undecided
  • 86% of college graduates claimed college has been a good investment.

High School Graduate Earns average of +$130,400 during 4 years of work

  • 75% of college graduates said they would do something different if they could start college over again.
  • 48% would have been more careful about their choice of major
  • 47% would have done more internships or worked part time
  • 38% would have started looking for work sooner before finishing college

Median first job salary for College grads
Median Salary Increases

  • $28,000 – Internship $34,680
  • $28,000 – Within degree $34,510
  • $25,000 – Hourly vs. Salary $35,510
  • $30.000 – Within degree level $35,000


Sources –

  • Heidrich
  • College Board
  • Pewsocial Trends
  • Georgetown College
  • Center for Education Statistics

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