College remains a sound investment, report by Fed finds | The Bell Policy Center

College remains a sound investment, report by Fed finds

A four-year college education remains a valuable economic investment for young people and their families, according to a recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The report says that college graduates continue to earn higher wages and achieve greater financial stability in the long term than their counterparts who have only a high school diploma.

In 2011, college graduates earned about $20,050 (or 61 percent) more per year than high school graduates. Those with a four-year degree will go on to earn an average of $830,000 more than their high school counterparts over a lifetime, even after paying for college, according the report.

While the cost of attending college remains high, with annual tuition at $21,200, the average college graduate can repay the cost in less than 20 years, the report says. That means a graduate would have many prime working years to benefit economically from their investment in a college degree. While many private colleges have a sticker price that exceeds this estimate, about 90 percent of students at public four-year colleges pay below the estimated $21,200 for tuition and fees.

Overall, the report finds that the benefits from the increased earnings over a lifetime can help to create financial stability for these college graduates and their families.

Achieving a college degree is an important gateway into the Cycle of Opportunity, so we believe that it continues to be a worthwhile investment for Coloradans.

– Rachel Maremont