Is College Still Worth It?

11 Insights That Will Transform The Way You Think About Earning A College Degree

Nine out of ten college grads across all generations believe a college education has been, or will be, worth the investment. We’re here to help you visualize what that means.

Short term: post-graduation


College graduates enjoy twice as many job opportunities

4.9 million jobs

requiring a high school diploma


10.2 million jobs

requiring at least an associate's degree


Burning-Glass.com, analysis of top occupational titles according to education level, April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016


Also, college teaches you soft skills that can help in an interview

77% of employers agree that soft skills like integrity, reliability, communication & teamwork are “as important” or “more important” than technical skills for entry-level job candidates.


With a college degree, graduates are more likely to enjoy the job they have

Survey respondents by educational level who reported being “very satisfied” with their current jobs:

  • 56%

    had a bachelor’s degree or higher

  • 55%

    had a two-year degree or some college

  • 44%

    had a high school diploma or less


Graduates are also more likely to be employed and earn more money

Unemployment rate


high school diploma holders


bachelor's degree holders

Median Weekly earnings


high school diploma holders


bachelor's degree holders

Earning a degree can also benefit your family

Intermediate term: mid-career


Children of graduates are more likely to graduate from college

Percentage of children who go on to earn degrees:

84% of children

if both parents hold a
bachelor’s degree


20% of children

if parents have a high school diploma or less


And maybe experience their own financial success

For children who go on to earn more than $100,000 a year:

  • 45%

    had parents who both earned bachelor’s degrees

  • 17%

    had parents who did not earn college degrees

Whether you have children or not, a degree means …


Graduates could have greater economic mobility

College graduates are more than three times more likely to rise from the bottom of the income ladder all the way to the top

Poly Hand Device

Economic mobility could mean more annual income

Average annual household after-tax income:

high school diploma holders:



bachelor’s degree holders:



More annual income could mean seeing a favorite band live instead of on YouTube®

Average annual household income spent on entertainment:

high school diploma holders:



bachelor’s degree holders:


Long term: nearing retirement


A degree can even impact graduates ability to prepare for retirement

The U.S. Social Security Administration reports people with degrees tend to save more in retirement accounts and have more financial assets than those without degrees.

Average annual retirement income, excluding social security:

high school diploma holders:



bachelor’s degree holders:


Better financial preparation can mean more time for graduates to enjoy the golden years

The average life expectancy of those with college experience is 7 years more than those with a high school diploma or less.

7 years

As you can see, there are a lot of great reasons to consider earning a college degree. But only you can decide if it's the right time for you and the right fit for your future.

*BLS Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all level of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

This tool and the images contained therein are provided for illustrative purposes only. Data is national, averaged information published by the source cited in each section. See each source for additional information.

Employment conditions in your area may vary and many positions require a combination of education and experience. Rasmussen College cannot guarantee employment in any specific field or that any specific level of income will be attained by any specific graduate.

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