Is College Worth It? It Depends on Whether You Graduate

Ben Casselman:

In The New York Times on Tuesday morning, David Leonhardt took on the “Is college worth it?” question. His answer? An unequivocal yes. The college wage premium — how much more college grads earn than everyone else — is the widest it’s ever been, Leonhardt wrote. Graduates are much more likely to find jobs than nongraduates. And despite mounting fears about student debt levels, the average student’s loan burden pales in comparison to the long-term benefits of a bachelor’s degree.

“For all the struggles that many young college graduates face,” Leonhardt wrote, “a four-year degree has probably never been more valuable.”

That’s probably true. Sure, some people end up with unmanageable debt loads, and not everyone who earns a bachelor’s degree easily gets a job, let alone a good one (all points that Leonhardt acknowledges). But on average, college graduates are much better off than nongraduates.