Education Pays, published every three years, presents detailed evidence of the private and public benefits of higher education. It also sheds light on the distribution of these benefits by examining both the increases and the persistent disparities in college participation and completion. In the three years between the publication of Education Pays 2007 and Education Pays 2010, median earnings for four-year college graduates increased more rapidly than those of high school graduates and the gap between the unemployment rates of the two groups grew. In addition to earnings comparisons, the report documents differences in lifestyles, health, and other outcomes for people with and without college education. Differences in enrollment and completion patterns across demographic groups highlight the reality that gaps in educational attainment are explained by a combination of money and other factors.
- Median Earnings and Tax Payments of Full-Time Year-Round Workers Ages 25 and Older, by Education Level, 2008
- Unemployment Rates Among Individuals Ages 25 and Older, by Education Level, 1992-2009
- Poverty Rates of Individuals Ages 25 and Older by Household Type and Education Level, 2008
- Postsecondary Enrollment Rates of Recent High School Graduates by Family Income, 1984-2008
Report findings are organized into the following categories:
Higher earnings are one of the important outcomes of higher education. Average earnings for adults increase with years of education and particularly with degree completion.
Adults with college degrees are more likely than others to receive health and pension benefits with their jobs. They are less likely to be unemployed or to rely on public income support payments.
Individuals who grow up in lower-income families or with parents who did not attend college are less likely than others to enroll in college. The distribution of students across types of institutions differs by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
Different enrollment patterns and different completion rates for students who do enroll lead to very different levels of educational attainment by race/ethnicity and family background.