Summary of Do the Benefits of College Still Outweigh the Costs?

Federal Reserve Bank of New York,

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Do the Benefits of College Still Outweigh the Costs? summary
Does a college degree really pay off anymore? The answer may surprise you.


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Years ago, having a university degree almost always meant earning more money. Today, an unaccommodating job market for many new college graduates and soaring tuition fees lead some to wonder if a sheepskin is still worth it. This illuminating analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York provides some answers but also poses new questions. getAbstract recommends this report to parents, educators, students and anyone weighing the potential financial benefits of a higher education against its costs.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the costs and benefits of higher education have changed over the years
  • Why a university degree still provides an income advantage
  • Which types of degrees produce the highest payoffs


From 1970 to 2013 in the US, an individual holding a bachelor’s degree earned approximately $64,500 annually, compared to $50,000 for those with an associate’s degree and $41,000 for high school graduates. Yet the “college wage premium” has fluctuated over the years. Beginning in the 1980s and through...
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About the Authors

Jaison R. Abel is a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where Richard Deitz is an assistant vice president.

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