Why the earnings discrepancy between high school and college graduates is shrinking.
The one thing that you are promised if you end up getting a college degree is that your earnings power will far surpass that of mere high school graduates. Well, that may have been true once but according to new studies the sad reality after accounting for huge loans, stifled wages and the moribund economy is anything less than flattering.
Reports the WSJ:
For years, higher education was touted as a safe path to professional and financial success. Easy money, in the form of student loans, flowed to help parents and students finance degrees, with the implication that in the long run, a bachelor’s degree was a good bet.
Which kind of implies that the myth of a good college degree is unfortunately just that, even if we’re hard wired to believe in our collective myths. Continues the WSJ.
Dr. Schneider (of the American Institutes for Research, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington) estimated the actual lifetime-earnings advantage for college graduates is a mere $279,893 in a report he wrote last year. He included tuition payments and discounted earning streams, putting them into present value.
Mmh, is this whetting your appetite to enroll in that 8-year PhD programme? Continues the sobering report:
And just like any investment, there are risks—such as graduating into a deep economic downturn. That’s what happened to Kelly Dunleavy, who graduated in 2007 from the University of California, Berkeley, with $60,000 in loans. She now works as a reporter for a small newspaper in the Bay Area and earns $34,000 a year. Her father is currently paying her $700 monthly loan payments. “It’s harder than what I think I expected it to be,” she says.
Oh, well. What’s one to do? Maybe one day being a plumber or an electrician will be more sexy than some fancy publicist at a struggling media company or some overworked banker (who at the end of the day can still get the girls because of his image and supposed money-pull factor). Until then, and the occasional interesting thing you might learn at college, we think it might just be worthwhile getting a proper education even if it means you being further enlightened but not as rich as you deserve to be…