EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — February 26, 2016

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Is College Worth It?

This is What Graduates Say

 

A recent study by GALLUP and Purdue University looked at the perceptions of university graduates with the cost and worth of their higher education. The illustrations below showcase the percent of graduates who thought college was "worth it." Specifically, respondents were asked "My education from [University Name] was worth the cost."

The first graphic looks at perceptions via personal income levels. As illustrated, and not surprisingly, graduates who earn more money have a much higher perception of the worth of their college degree. Fifty-one percent of those with annual incomes $120,000 or higher "strongly agreed" that their education was worth the cost, compared to 31 percent of those earning less than $36,000 a year. Interestingly, 49 percent—half—of the most affluent graduates did not choose "strongly agree."

When analyzed from the perspective of employment, 39 percent of those who worked full time strongly agreed that their education was worth it. Of interest here is that the same percentage—39 percent—of those graduates not in the workforce held the same perception. Only 31 percent of graduates who were working but "underemployed," an important challenge in the new economy, strongly agreed that their education was worth it.

 

SOURCE: Great Jobs, Great Lives. The Relationship Between Student Debt, Experiences and Perceptions of College Worth. GALLUP-PURDUE INDEX 2015 REPORT.