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There are a handful of experiences in life that add so much value, authentic joy, and limitless opportunities to your world that you can neither put a price tag on them nor accurately measure just how much value they add to your life. While the emotional, personal, financial, professional, and/or physical rewards you reap from these positive life-enhancing experiences simply cannot be calculated, one experience does have statistical data to back up its influence in your life. A college education.

In 2014, the Pew Research Center released a report on the (rising) cost of individuals between the ages of 25 and 32 who chose not to earn a college degree. The report’s findings were staggering. College graduates in 2014 were earning $45,500 a year compared to high school graduates at just $28,000 a year. While that $17,500 difference is substantial, the divide between these two types of employees continued to widen 24 months later.

According to a 2016 survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates earn over $459 per week more at their particular jobs than employees who hold only a high school diploma. In just a 12-month period, that is a difference in annual earnings of over $23,800. Within just five years, you will have earned nearly $120,000 above and beyond what you would have earned had you not obtained your college degree. There is a lot you could do with your life with more savings in your bank account.

Over a lifetime of working, a college graduate will have earned over $2.3 million compared to an employee with a high school diploma earning just $1.3 million throughout his/her professional career. That’s a $1 million difference because one worker chose to complete a 4-year college degree and one chose not to continue with his/her formal studies beyond high school. These findings from the 2014 Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce report on “The College Payoff” affirm the significant increase in lifetime prosperity and the economic security a college degree provides.

Even if your annual income was not your motivation for working in your chosen field, think of what you could do for others in your life and your community with that “extra” $1 million earned over your lifetime. The possibilities are endless.

Even if your annual income was not your motivation for working in your chosen field, think of what you could do for others in your life and your community with that “extra” $1 million earned over your lifetime. The possibilities are endless.

 

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