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How Higher Education Pays Off

College can help you earn more money over your lifetime. On average, incomes increase with every additional degree earned. You are also less likely to become unemployed.

More Education Pays Off in Higher Earnings

A survey from 2014 shows that median earnings grow from $488 to $668 per week just by earning a high school diploma. Getting a bachelor's degree increases median earnings to $1,101 per week.

Education Pays

Level of education Median weekly earnings in 2014 Unemployment rate in 2014
Less than a high school diploma $488 9.0%
High school diploma $668 6.0%
Some college, no degree $741 6.0%
Associate degree $792 4.5%
Bachelor's degree $1,101 3.5%
Master's degree $1,326 2.8%
Doctoral degree $1,591 2.1%
Professional degree $1,639 1.9%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In Minnesota, about 67 percent of Minnesota high school graduates attend college the fall after graduation. View college participation rates for more details.

Tool to Weigh the Benefits and Costs

See how your degree or credentials match employer demand. The Graduate Employment Outcomes Data Tool from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows the number of recent graduates from Minnesota schools who found jobs after graduation. It also shows median wages earned and the top industries graduates worked in. To learn more about the data tool read New Tool Helps Grads Find Employment Outcomes.

Other Benefits

There are many benefits to having an advanced degree. You may have better employee benefits and working conditions and be less likely to be laid off. You also learn skills employers want:

  • critical thinking
  • communications
  • teamwork
  • time management
  • researching
  • problem-solving
  • writing
  • computer literacy

College isn't free. One way to reduce the cost is to attend a community college or short-term training program. But don't rule out a school simply because of cost. Few students pay the full tuition price. Most students qualify for some type of financial aid.

Keep in mind that education is an investment in your future. Visit Minnesota Office of Higher Education for resources on college and financial aid.