The impact of a college degree on economic mobility has a greater impact for America’s lowest income class than it does for any other group. Though the trend seems obvious, a report released by the U.S. Treasury Department shows that for the poorest 20 percent of American families, a college degree will increase the odds of raising economic status by 80 percent. Even without attending graduate school, the chance is raised by 55 percent.
The report, entitled “The Economic Case for Higher Education,” shows that the weekly earnings of bachelor’s degree holders is 64 percent higher than those of workers with just a high school diploma. Unemployment rates among college graduates are lower as well. Over their lifetimes, people with a bachelor’s degree can be expected to earn about $1 million more than people without one, according to a new Georgetown Study.
Though a college degree is by no means a ticket to the lifetime success, it can be crucial to long-term stability. A report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers has determined the median salary for college graduates to be $42,000, much higher than the $26,364 listed for all Americans in 2010.
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Still, the recession has impacted all members of the job market, and a degree is no substitute for experience. Only 51 percent of graduates since 2006 have found full-time employment, and long-term unemployment has been a trend for college and high school graduates alike.