Even though the cost of college is skyrocketing, there is also a cost associated with not going to college — lower earnings.
Here are some findings from the International Youth Foundation’s Opportunity for Action paper and some other studies:
- The typical income gap between the a college graduate and the a high school dropout has never been higher. Today, college grads earn 80 percent more than people who don’t go to high school.
- A 2009 McKinsey report estimated that if we raised our education performance to the level of Korea, we could improve the US economy by more than $2 trillion. (We could, in other words, add the GDP of Italy to our economy with education reform.)
- Yet another study from NBER estimated that the benefit of a good teacher over an average teacher could improve a student’s future lifetime earnings by $400,000.
- Finally, a study from the Hamilton Project found that $100,000 spent on college at age 18 would yield a higher lifetime return than an equal investment in corporate bonds, U.S. government debt, or hot company stocks.