Phi Beta Cons

Is it a fact that a college degree is worth $25,000 annually?

A line we hear constantly is that people who have college degrees earn more than people who don’t. This publication goes so far as to say it’s a fact that a college degree is worth more than $25,000 annually.
The problem, of course, is that what’s true on average is not necessarily true for an individual. Most of the very wealthy people in America have college degrees to their name; those people, however, would probably be very successful even without the degree. They pull the average earnings for college grads up considerably.
People with much less innate skill and ambition won’t be magically transformed into high earners just because they manage to accumulate enough credits for a college degree. It seems clear that for many young people these days, the return on a college investment is actually negative: their earning power is unaffected, but they have to pay off the cost of their college years.
Saying that it’s a fact that a college degree is worth $25,000 per year is very misleading.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.