A new set of income statistics answers those questions quite clearly: Yes, college is worth it, and it’s not even close. For all the struggles that many young college graduates face, a four-year degree has probably never been more valuable.
The pay gap between college graduates and everyone else reached a record high last year, according to the new data, which is based on an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree. That’s up from 89 percent five years earlier, 85 percent a decade earlier and 64 percent in the early 1980s.
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More than 16 million people in the US — about 8 percent of the population — now have a master’s, a 43 percent increase since 2002.
But the growth hasn’t been spread around evenly. The story of the past four decades isn’t just about how master’s degrees became as common now as bachelor’s degrees were in the 1960s. It’s about how the US has redefined which fields need or reward postgraduate study.
A team of researchers led by Michael T. French, professor of health economics at the University of Miami (UM), finds that high school grade point average (GPA) is a strong predictor of future earnings.
The findings, published recently in the Eastern Economic Journal, show that a one-point increase in high school GPA raises annual earnings in adulthood by around 12 percent for men and 14 percent for women.
At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington research group.
The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.
image via flickr:CC | SalFalko
The beauty of bitcoin, many of those who use the currency will tell you, is that it’s decentralized. You don’t have to bother with a bank, which means you don’t necessarily leave the kind of paper trail that many other transactions produce. From the user perspective, paying with bitcoin is basically like using cash—only you can do it online.
So it’s fitting that bitcoin is the currency of choice among online vendors of fake IDs, some of whom now offer discounts to customers who pay that way. Other vendors have gone bitcoin-only, according to a subreddit discussion of popular fake ID sites.
It must be noted that bitcoin isn’t just an underworld currency—in fact, not everyone agrees that it’s currency at all.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Now of course there are lots of reasons why the pay shakes out this way. But by pretty much any standard the work that an excellent teacher does is positive-sum for society — the more great teachers there are the more well-educated kids we’ll have and the better off we’ll all become. By contrast the work that excellent lawyers do mostly consists of zero-sum battles to outwit other excellent lawyers. And yet the work of teachers is much less rewarded financially then the work of people in legal and financial occupations that have lower social returns.
* Depending on the product you’re buying and the person doing the tweeting.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
The Indianapolis-based foundation’s annual report finds some encouraging data to counter the familiar story of a nation that is famed for its colleges and universities but trails many other countries when it comes to the percentage of people with a degree beyond high school.
Parents’ experiences and expectations around higher ed strongly influence what their children do after high school.
Check out the federal budget from 2013. The gap between federal and local funds may surprise you; $60 in federal funding versus $464B locally.
College costs the same for both genders, but women spend a higher portion of their salaries on paying off debt than men because they make less. It starts as soon as they enter the workforce.
A March 26, 2014 report by the New America Foundation points out that as much as 40 percent of the $1 trillion in student debt outstanding was borrowed not for college, but to pay for grad school. And some 80% of of the debt incurred by students who finished their grad school programs in 2012 wasn’t for people going into medicine, law or business, but for less profitable professions, such as teaching.
Should future teachers be taking out massive loans to get their master’s of education degrees?
It gets worse. The self-reported earnings of art majors from Murray State are so low that after two decades, a typical high school grad will have out-earned them by nearly $200,000. Here are the degrees (i.e.: specific majors at specific schools) with the lowest 20-year net return, according to PayScale. They are all public schools: Bold names are for in-state students.
If I had to pick one study that I think all would-be education reformers should read, it would be a paper that I once found via Bryan Caplan. It’s an old paper – from 1988 – and it’s not even about education. Rather, it’s an examination of why most companies don’t use the sorts of compensation and incentive schemes that a simplistic understanding of economics might imply they do or should. Here’s the abstract…