Monday, June 27, 2011

New Study on the Value of a College Education

There has been a lot of noise in the U.S. and elsewhere in recent years about the rising cost of a college education and whether the returns justify the investment. This article in the NYT, referencing a new study conducted at Georgetown University, shows why it is still worth it:
... the returns from a degree have soared. Three decades ago, full-time workers with a bachelor’s degree made 40 percent more than those with only a high-school diploma. Last year, the gap reached 83 percent. College graduates, though hardly immune from the downturn, are also far less likely to be unemployed than non-graduates. ...

The Hamilton Project, a research group in Washington, [which] has just finished a comparison of college with other investments ... found that college tuition in recent decades has delivered an inflation-adjusted annual return of more than 15 percent. For stocks, the historical return is 7 percent. For real estate, it’s less than 1 percent.

Another study being released this weekend — by Anthony Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose of Georgetown — breaks down the college premium by occupations and shows that college has big benefits even in many fields where a degree is not crucial.
Construction workers, police officers, plumbers, retail salespeople and secretaries, among others, make significantly more with a degree than without one. Why? Education helps people do higher-skilled work, get jobs with better-paying companies or open their own businesses.

College costs in Ireland are still significantly low when compared with the U.S. and the decision is a no-brainer. Hope those completing their leaving certs this year are paying attention!