NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Increasing Returns to Education

February 16, 1996

The 1996 Economic Report of the President verifies that it pays to stay in school and get that diploma.

  • In 1994, a full-time male worker over age 25 with a four-year college degree earned 89 percent more per year on average than a similar worker with only a high school degree.
  • That figure has nearly doubled from the 49 percent more reported in 1979.
  • Each year of formal schooling after high school adds 5 percent to 15 percent more to annual earnings later in life.
  • Currently, 35 percent of those in the 18-24 year old age group are enrolled in college.

For them, the chalk writing is on the blackboard.

Source: Beth Belton, "Degree-Based Earnings Gap Grows Quickly," USA Today, February 16, 1996.


Browse more articles on Education Issues