The Fed report reveals that the income of 25 percent of all Americans with a four-year degree is roughly the same as the average for those with just a high school diploma.

Do the Benefits of College Still Outweigh the Costs?

This suggests, say the authors, “that the economic benefit of a college education is relatively small for at least a quarter of those graduating with a bachelor’s degree.” They’re talking about 14 of the aforementioned 55 graduates.

Those 14 graduates, plus the 45 dropouts, mean that 59 percent of incoming public university freshman eventually fail to gain a financial upside for their investment. Just 41 percent of them “win” that bet, and the College Board says average annual tuition at the nation’s public universities is nearly $9,000 (or $36,000 for four years.) As noted, the chance of winning a lucky bet on a college football game is 50 percent, nine full percentage points higher than winning the tuition bet, but with immediate returns and no homework.


Legend - Trace