SAN FRANCISCO May 5 Over a lifetime, the
average U.S. college graduate will earn at least $800,000 more
than the average high school graduate, a study published Monday
by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco shows.
That's after accounting for the high cost of college tuition
and the four years of wages lost during the time it takes to
complete a typical undergraduate degree, the researchers found.
"Although there are stories of people who skipped college
and achieved financial success, for most Americans the path to
higher future earnings involves a four-year college degree,"
wrote Mary Daly, the San Francisco Fed's associate director of
research, and Leila Bengali, a research associate, in the latest
Economic Letter from the regional Fed bank.
In short, they found, "college is still worth it."
A college student who pays $21,200 in yearly tuition will
recoup that investment by age 38, the researchers found. About
90 percent of students at public colleges, and 20 percent of
students at private colleges, pay less than that amount, they
found. By retirement, that student will have earned $831,000
more than a peer who never went to college.
For those students who pay the astronomical tuitions levied
by top private U.S. colleges, however, the benefits may be
smaller, the study suggested.
"Although some colleges cost more, there is no definitive
evidence that they produce far superior results for all
students," they wrote, adding "... redoubling the efforts to
make college more accessible would be time and money well
(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by James Dalgleish)