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The College Payoff: Education, Occupation, Lifetime Earnings


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

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The College Payoff: Education, Occupation, Lifetime Earnings

  1. 1. The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, and Ban Cheah August 5, 2011
  2. 2. Overview •  A college degree is key to economic opportunity. •  Only 41 percent of adults in America have a college degree. •  Since 1999, the premium on college education has risen to 84 percent.
  3. 3. Rule 1: Degree Level Matters •  On average, people with more education make more than those with less.
  4. 4. Con’t. •  The wage gap is widening. In 2002, a Bachelor’s degree-holder could expect to earn 75 percent more over a lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma.Today, that premium is 84 percent.
  5. 5. Rule 2: Occupations can Trump Degree Level •  There are significant earnings variations between different levels of educational attainment. •  A person does not have to be highly educated to earn over the median salary in his/her field.
  6. 6. Con’t. •  Some occupational clusters pay better than others. STEM occupations earn much more than teachers despite level of educational attainment.
  7. 7. Rule 3: Degree Level Still Matters Most in Individual Occupations    
  8. 8. Rule 4: Race and Gender can Trump All When Determining Earnings •  Women with a Bachelor’s degree earn about as much as men with some college education but no degree.
  9. 9. Con’t. •  African Americans and Latinos earn less than their white counterparts, even among the most highly-educated workers.
  10. 10. Conclusion •  Education is an investment worth making since it directly impacts lifetime earnings. •  However, occupation, race, and gender play significant roles in one’s potential earnings.
  11. 11. For more information: See the full report at: Email Us | Follow Us on Twitter | @GeorgetownCEW Find Us on Facebook | Follow Us on LinkedIn |