Monday, January 14, 2013

College still worth a lot

I have seen dozens of stories over the last four years that purport to show that a college degree is not as valuable as it used to be.  It is true that unemployment of college grads has gone up and salaries have fallen off.  But this does not mean college has become a poor investment.  One must compare how college grads fare compare to those without college degrees to see the full picture.

Last week NYT ran a story about a study supported by Pew Charitable Trust that focused on those age 21 to 24 in the current recession.  Here are the key findings:

People with four-year college degrees saw a 5 percent drop in wages, compared with a 12 percent decrease for their peers with associate’s degrees, and a 10 percent decline for high school graduates.

Among those whose highest degree was a high school diploma, only 55 percent had jobs even before the downturn, and that fell to 47 percent after it. For young people with an associate’s degree, the employment rate fell from 64 percent to 57 percent.  But those with a bachelor’s degree started off in the strongest position and weathered the downturn best, with employment slipping from 69 percent to 65 percent. 

College grads are having a harder time, but others are having a much harder time.  

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