New Report: What's it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on June 5, 2011

What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors – Anthony P. Carnevale, Jeff Strohl, Michelle Melton – Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, May 2011

  • “When considering the question of whether earning a college degree is worth the investment in these uncertain economic times, here is a number to keep in mind: 84 percent. On average, that is how much more money a full-time, full-year worker with a Bachelor’s degree can expect to earn over a lifetime than a colleague who has no better than a high school diploma. Clearly, for most students, when asked whether to go to college, the answer should be a resounding “yes.” And statistics show that Americans are drawing that conclusion in ever-growing numbers. Since 1992, the proportion of workers with Bachelor’s degrees in the U.S. labor force has grown from 28 percent to 34 percent…Our report finds that different majors have different economic value. While going to college is undoubtedly a wise decision, what you take while you’re there matters a lot, too. On average, as we stated, Bachelor’s degree holders earn 84 percent more than those with a high school diploma. However, returns to majors run a wide gamut. At the extreme, the highest earning major earns 314 percent more at the median than the lowestearning major at the median.”
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