Based on the available data, the answer is still very much an unequivocal YES!
According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Work Force as reported in Business Week, the data for median salaries for various levels of education are pretty compelling. For a bachelor’s degree graduate working full time, the median annual earnings were $55,700. This is substantially higher than a graduate with an associate’s degree, whose median earnings totaled just $42,000. Yes, that is a difference of 33%!
The story gets worse for high school graduates, with median annual earnings of $33,800, followed by those without a high school diploma or GED, where annual earnings averaged just $24,300.
Another important metric to consider, of course, is the unemployment rate for these same groups. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates 25 and older have an unemployment rate of just 4.3%, as compared to those with a high school diploma, which at 9.5% is unfortunately closer to the national average. As with median earnings, the story is bleak for non-high school grads, where the unemployment rate is a whopping 13.9%.
The obvious truth is that low skill jobs continue to decline, while new technologies, social networking, web 3.0, and a slowly rebounding economy are making a college degree an even more valuable and essential asset.
Can you afford getting a college degree? You can’t afford NOT to!