How Much More Do College Graduates Earn Than Non-College Graduates?

Sep 2018
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How Much More Do College Graduates Earn Than Non-College Graduates?

Differences in Earnings
The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) analyzes employee earnings data biennially according to education level. These findings indicate that workers with college degrees earn significantly more than those without; they also emphasize how lower education levels tend to correspond with higher unemployment rates. In 2015, adults with bachelor's degrees took home more than those with high school diplomas. Degree holders earned $48,500 a year, while diploma holders earned $23,900.
Over the past two decades, while college-educated workers' wages have increased, annual salaries for those with only a high school education have decreased. However, the gender of the degree holder, as well as the type of degree, also impacted earnings.
Let's look at some figures from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics in 2015 on median weekly earnings. For those with only a high school diploma, men earned $751 and women earned $578. With some college or an associate's degree, men earned $872 while women earned just $661. Men holding a bachelor's degree earned $1,249; with women, bachelor's degree holders bringing home $965. With a bachelor's degree or higher, men earned $1,385, with women earning $1049. Finally, men with an advanced degree earned $1,630 and women with an advanced degree earned $1,185.