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ERIC Number: ED506265
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
How Much Is That Bachelor's Degree Really Worth? The Million Dollar Misunderstanding. Education Outlook. No. 5
Schneider, Mark
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Many claim that a college degree is worth a million dollars, but like so many other "facts" about higher education in the United States, it is not quite right. Indeed, using a set of reasonable assumptions that factors in school selectivity, the cost of a college education, and foregone wages, I show that the million dollar figure is grossly inflated, and may be three times too high. Key points in this "Outlook" include: (1) Many claim that college graduates earn a million dollars more in a lifetime than high school graduates; (2) In fact, there is great variation in the lifetime earnings of students graduating from different types of colleges or universities; and (3) Once we account for tuition payments and discount earnings streams, the payoff of a college degree falls dramatically, but the return is still substantial. (Contains 16 notes and 2 figures.)
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research