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Tellingly, though, the wage premium for people who have attended college without earning a bachelor’s degree — a group that includes community-college graduates — has not been rising.The big economic returns go to people with four-year degrees.(Those same experts and journalists are sending their own children to college and often obsessing over which one.) The decision not to attend college for fear that it’s a bad deal is among the most economically irrational decisions anybody could make in 2014. That’s right: Over the long run, college is cheaper than free.
The pay disparity between those with college degrees and those without continues to grow. If there were more college graduates than the economy needed, the pay gap would shrink.
The gap’s recent growth is especially notable because it has come after a rise in the number of college graduates, partly because many people went back to school during the Great Recession. economist, who was not involved in the Economic Policy Institute’s analysis.
The anecdotes may be real, yet the conventional wisdom often exaggerates the problem.
Among four-year college graduates who took out loans, average debt is about $25,000, a sum that is a tiny fraction of the economic benefits of college.
This amount is then subtracted from the lifetime gap between the earnings of college graduates and high school graduates.
After adjusting for inflation and the time value of money, the net cost of college is negative 0,000, roughly double what it was three decades ago.
Today, obviously, the notion that everyone should attend 13 years of school is indisputable.
But there is nothing magical about 13 years of education.
In a similar vein, the new Economic Policy Institute numbers show that the benefits of college don’t go just to graduates of elite colleges, who typically go on to to earn graduate degrees.
The wage gap between people with only a bachelor’s degree and people without such a degree has also kept rising.