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September 18, 2012 11:00 AM The Data: Yes, College Is Worth It

By Daniel Luzer

Who needs college? Earlier in the month Megan McArdle over at the Daily Beast wrote that:

Maybe it’s time to ask a question that seems almost sacrilegious: is all this investment in college education really worth it? The answer, I fear, is that it’s not. For an increasing number of kids, the extra time and money spent pursuing a college diploma will leave them worse off than they were before they set foot on campus.

I found this article pretty shallow and explained that, despite her concern about the cost of college, real evidence indicated that college continued to be very much worth it, because graduates earned so much more money.

Now we’ve got some graphs to prove it. As Derek Thompson demonstrated over at The Atlantic, two things explain why college is worth it.

1) graduates earn more money

CollegeInvestment2.jpg

2) the rate of return on college is better than the rate of return on personal investments

CollegeInvestment1.jpg

Q.E.D.

Thompson’s information comes from research by Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney at the Hamilton Project.

College, yes, a very good investment. Granted, a pretty expensive investment, but still, this is what’s really going on.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer