We gathered current statistics from reputable sources to answer the following questions.

  1.  What effect does education have on the employment rate for young adults?
  2.  What effect does your degree program choice have on starting salaries?
  3.  What is the average cost of tuition and room & board for college students?

This first illustration comes from the U.S. Department of Education and it compares the rate of employment for five different levels of education” Master’s degree or higher, Bachelor’s degree, Associate’s degree, High School completion, and less than High School completion. This data was tracked from 2000 through 2014.  Clearly there is a strong correlation showing the higher education levels are less likely to be unemployed than those with less education. The rate of employment of those with Bachelors degree or higher has gone largely unchanged since 2000, while the recession from 2008 till 2012, had a very negative impact on those with an Associate’s degree or less.  Most impacted by the downturn of the economy were those with only a High School education or less.

Percentage of the labor force ages 25–34 working full time, year round, by educational attainment: 2000–2014

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). The Condition of Education 2016 (NCES 2016-144), Annual Earnings of Young Adults.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers study shows the starting salary of those students in different disciplines who held a Bachelor’s degree. Those who were in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math earned significantly more than those with Liberal Art majors. This indicates a higher demand for these category of works in the U.S. workforce at this time.

Average starting salaries by discipline for bachelor’s degree graduatesCapture

SOURCE: Fall 2015 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. All data are for bachelor’s degree level graduates.

Without a doubt, the earnings and employment rate statistics show a clear benefit for earning a college degree, especially a Bachelors degree or higher.  However the cost of getting that education can be significant.

Average Published Charges (Enrollment-Weighted) for Full-Time Undergraduates by Sector, 2015-16

cost of college

SOURCE: The College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges Pricing 2014.