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What is the Value of a College Degree?

So you are ready to go to college " you have your major picked out " and a career in mind. But what is your college degree really going to be worth in the real world?

College graduates made an average of $51,554 in 2004, the most recent figures available, compared with $28,645 for adults with a high school diploma. High school dropouts earned an average of $19,169 and those with advanced college degrees made an average of $78,093.

"There appear to be strong incentives to get a college degree, given the gaps that we observe," said Lisa Barrow, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The income gap narrowed slightly from five years earlier, when college graduates made nearly twice as much as high school graduates. But the differences remained significant for men and women of every racial and ethnic group.

The salary gap between college graduates and those with only diplomas should be a motivation to get a college education. Today's online degree programs make it possible for students to earn a degree on a schedule that fits in to their lifestyle.


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