Bachelor's degree holders earn more than high school graduates throughout their careers

Earning a college degree can lead to a higher salary over a 40-year period.
Earning a college degree can lead to a higher salary over a 40-year period.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that individuals who have a college degree tend to have higher salaries than people who hold only a high school diploma. While university credentials can lead students to an average annual salary of about $53,300, high school graduates earn about $32,552 per year. Although the annual salary difference between bachelor's degree holders and people who have high school diplomas is significant, the lifetime difference is staggering.

According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, with support from U.S. Census Bureau Data, typical adults with bachelor's degrees will make about $1.42 million during their 40-year careers, while high school graduates earn $770,000 total in this 40-year period. This creates a $650,000 difference between the two groups.

Even when the average cost of higher education is deducted from a person's total salary, the report shows that individuals who have completed college earn about $550,000 more in 40 years. This indicates that while attending a university may seem expensive, the investment is well worth the initial cost.

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