College Education Linked to Higher Pay, Job Security, Healthier Behaviors and More Civic Involvement: New Education Pays Report
College Education Linked to Higher Pay, Job Security, Healthier Behaviors and More Civic Involvement: New Education Pays ReportCollege Board Communications
Individuals with higher education levels earn more, pay more taxes, and are more likely than others to be employed and to have job benefits such as retirement and health insurance. Adults with more education are also more likely to move up the socioeconomic ladder and less likely to rely on public assistance, according to Education Pays 2016, the latest report from the College Board’s Trends in Higher Education series.
Updated triennially since 2004, Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society documents differences in the earnings and employment patterns of U.S. adults with different levels of education. The report also establishes a correlation between education and health outcomes, community involvement, and indicators of the well-being of the next generation. In addition to documenting median earnings by education level, this year’s report also includes data on variation in earnings by different characteristics such as gender, race/ethnicity, occupation, college major, and institutional sector.
“Although obtaining a college degree can mean forgone wages during a time when they are also paying tuition, by age 34 the average bachelor’s degree recipient will have recouped those costs,” explains Jennifer Ma, senior policy research scientist at the College Board and a coauthor of the report. “A college education is an investment that pays dividends over the course of a lifetime — even for students who accumulate some debt to obtain a degree.”
Although college enrollment rates continue to rise, the patterns are uneven across demographic groups. Among students with similar high school math test scores, those from wealthier families are much more likely to enroll in college immediately after high school, but the enrollment gaps by socioeconomic background are largest for those who are least academically prepared. Among those who enroll in college, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to begin at a public or private nonprofit four-year institution than others.
“Given the high payoffs of postsecondary education to both individuals and society as a whole, it is important that we increase college opportunity for all who can benefit and also improve completion rates,” notes Jessica Howell, executive director of policy research at the College Board. “We’ve designed our Access to Opportunity efforts to break down the barriers that prevent students from applying to and enrolling in college. Our goal is to help all students recognize and make the most of the opportunities they’ve earned.”
To view the complete report, visit Education Pays 2016.
The Trends in Higher Education series provides insight into trends in college pricing and financial aid. A college education is critical to one’s long-term financial security, yet many students and families face real financial barriers to college enrollment and success. The data on college prices and student aid included in these reports create a context for evaluating public policies designed to increase educational opportunities.