Stories like this are often trotted out by people in the higher ed establishment to prove that
policies designed to get more students into college are wise because the average earnings of people with college degrees is significantly higher than of people without them.
That’s a very feeble argument. The average for those with college degrees
is pulled up by very successful people, many of whom received their degrees
decades ago. It emphatically does not follow that if we manage to lure more
kids into college today, they will enjoy that large income boost (about
$23,000 annually). Many of today’s students are poorly prepared for
college, have little interest in learning, and go through college programs
that have been watered down to keep them content. As I point out in my paper
“The Overselling of Higher Education,” large numbers
of college grads these days can do no better in the job market than to
accept low-paying entry level jobs that could be performed by any reasonably
bright high school student.