When money is tight, students and parents worry more about the value of a college degree relative to the costs, writes Sue Shellenberger in the Wall Street Journal.
College graduates earn 60 percent more than high-school graduates, estimates a 2007 College Board report with students in technical majors doing the best.
For a more specific payoff prediction, HumanCapitalScore.com will “generate a 10-year range of students’ likely postgraduation income based on their test scores, high school and college attended, grades and major.”
Payscale.com/best-colleges lists “median salaries of actual grads by college, type of college, major and job.”
Ambition leads to financial success, researchers have found.
In a surprising twist, a stronger predictor of income is the caliber of the schools that reject you. Researchers found students who applied to several elite schools but didn’t attend them — presumably because many were rejected — are more likely to earn high incomes later than students who actually attended elite schools. In a summary of the findings, the Bureau says that “evidently, students’ motivation, ambition and desire to learn have a much stronger effect on their subsequent success than average academic ability of their classmates.”
Of course, there are non-monetary rewards, such as “preparing for a rich, well-rounded life” and “finding a career you love.”
Update: Where Does All That Tuition Go? AEI’s Mark Schneider explains why college costs keep rising faster than inflation.
And here’s a provocative infographic.