Facts about Education

FACT: "Among households headed by people with student debt who attended graduate school and are under 35, average student loan debt climbed to $81,758 in 2010. That figure is up from $55,594 in 2007 (Wall Street Journal analysis of Federal Reserve data; Wall St. Journal, 1/6/13).

FACT: “Tuition and fees for full-time M.B.A. programs have risen 24% over the past three years” (according to the Graduate Management Admission Council; Wall St. Journal, 1/6/13).

FACT: In 2010, newly graduated doctors had an average of $158,000 in debt (American Association of Medical Colleges study; Seattle Times, 7/22/12).

FACT: Fewer and fewer men are enrolling in college (National Center for Educational Statistics / CBS News Sunday Morning 6/17/12):

  • 1970 = 57.7% of college enrollees were men
  • 1980 = 47.7%
  • 1990 = 45%
  • 2000 = 43.9%
  • 2012 = 43.5

FACT: 70% of class valedictorians today are women (sociologist Michael Kimmel/ CBS News Sunday Morning 6/17/12).

FACT: “Less than 40% of the 25 million Americans over age 25 who lack a high-school diploma are employed. Of the 40% of dropouts who are working, many are immigrants who gravitate toward jobs at the low end of the labor market, such as child care, cleaning, restaurant work and landscaping. High-school dropouts earn about $23,400 on average, compared with $33,500 for those with a high-school diploma and $54,700 for four-year college grads, the labor bureau says. This gap is expected to widen as jobs demand higher skills and more education” (Wall St. Journal, 2/21/12).

FACT: “The current unemployment rate is 9.1%. But the unemployment rate for college graduates (bachelor’s or higher) is 4.3%, a number that has actually dropped from 5 percent a year ago. Unemployment for high school grads stands at 9.6%, while high school dropouts must contend with a 14.6% jobless rate” (Christian Science Monitor, 9/15/11).

FACT: “Over a lifetime, the earnings of workers who have majored in engineering, computer science or business are as much as 50% higher than the earnings of those who major in the humanities, the arts, education and psychology” (research analysis by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce; Washington Post, 5/24/11). “The report is based on previously unreported census data that definitively links college majors to career earnings. Earlier studies have looked at salaries after graduation, but the new report covers earnings across a person's working life and is based on a much larger survey.”

FACT: “A worker with a bachelor's degree can expect to make 84% more in a lifetime than a colleague who has only a high-school diploma” (research analysis by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce; Washington Post, 5/24/11). “The report is based on previously unreported census data that definitively links college majors to career earnings. Earlier studies have looked at salaries after graduation, but the new report covers earnings across a person's working life and is based on a much larger survey.”

FACT: “By most metrics, women are outpacing men in education. In 2009, about 87% of women 19 or older had graduated high school, slightly higher than men. About 28% of both men and women had at least a college degree in 2009, but women are on a loftier trajectory: In 1970, only 8% of women had a college degree, compared with 14% for men. Women between 25 and 34 years old are now more likely to have a college degree than men of the same age, and more women than men go to graduate school” (Census Bureau and Labor Department statistics; Wall St. Journal, 3/1/11).

FACT: College seniors who graduated in 2009 carried an average of $24,000 in student loan debt – that’s an increase of 6% from the year before (The Project on Student Debt, the Institute for College Access & Success; The Upshot Yahoo news blog, 11/22/10).

FACT: The median starting salary for 2010 college graduates who completed an internship: $41,580. Those without internships were offered a median starting salary of $34,601 (National Association of Colleges and Employers; Seattle Times, 10/31/10).

FACT: “Today’s 25- to 34-year-olds are no better educated than their baby-boomer predecessors. About 37.5% of them held at least a two-year college degree in 2008, almost identical to the 37% of 45- to 64-year-olds – roughly the baby-boom generation. Previous studies have produced similar findings” (report from the American Council on Education, a Washington D.C. lobbying group; Wall St. Journal, 10/20/10).

FACT: “More young people of all races are enrolling in post-secondary education than in the past, but more are failing to earn degrees. The problems are most pronounced at two-year colleges. Only 55% of students who started at two-year colleges in 2005 either earned a degree or were still enrolled in 2008. Ten years ago, the number was 60%” (report from the American Council on Education, a Washington D.C. lobbying group; Wall St. Journal, 10/20/10).

FACT: Asians of all ages show the highest college-completion rates, while African Americans and Hispanics show the lowest. More than 68% of Asian 25- to 34-year-olds hold more than a high-school diploma, against 44% of whites. For African Americans, the number is 26%, and only 17.5% of young Hispanics have at least a two-year degree (report from the American Council on Education, a Washington D.C. lobbying group; Wall St. Journal, 10/20/10).

FACT: “Workers with less than a high-school diploma were likelier to keep their jobs during the recession if they lived in a handful of metro areas with the highest concentrations of employees with college degrees, according to a paper released Friday by Alan Berube, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. ‘Where you are matters,’ Mr Brube said. ‘If you’re a worker without a high school diploma, you are better off being in a highly educated labor market like Seattle than being in a less educated labor market like Scranton’” (Wall St. Journal, 11/8/10).

FACT: 40% of executive MBA students say their number one reason for attending is to start their own business; 35% say the impetus is to change careers or industries; 29% say they hope to get a promotion at their current company (Wall St. Journal survey of 3,060 of the most recent graduates of 87 executive MBA programs at 64 business schools; Wall St. Journal, 9/30/10).

FACT: 36% of executive MBA students say they pay the cost of the programs, not their employers (Wall St. Journal survey of 3,060 of the most recent graduates of 87 executive MBA programs at 64 business schools; Wall St. Journal, 9/30/10).

FACT: Executive MBA programs generally cost between $60,000 and $150,000 (Wall St. Journal survey of 3,060 of the most recent graduates of 87 executive MBA programs at 64 business schools; Wall St. Journal, 9/30/10).

FACT: Of the doctoral degrees awarded in 2008 – 2009 academic year, 28,962 went to women and 28,469 to men (annual enrollment report from the Council of Graduate Schools; The Washington Post, 9/14/10).

FACT: "State universities have become the favorite of companies recruiting new hires because their big student populations and focus on teaching practical skills gives the companies more bang for their recruiting buck" (Wall St. Journal, 9/13/10).

FACT: "According to a Wall Street Journal survey of top corporate recruiters whose companies last year hired 43,000 new graduates: Big state schools Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were the top three picks among recruiters surveyed. Recruiters made clear they preferred big state schools over elite liberal arts schools, such as the Ivies" (Wall St. Journal, 9/13/10).

FACT: In the U.S., the graduation rate for traditional, on-campus M.B.A programs is about 90%. But for online-only M.B.A programs, the graduation rate is as low as 60% at some non-profit colleges and universities. The graduation rate at for-profit online M.B.A programs is even lower: about 50% (Wall St. Journal, 7/1/10).

FACT: Today, women earn more college degrees than men in all fields except the physical sciences, math, engineering, business and economics. Because of this, women's wages have risen faster and fewer of them were laid off during the economic recession of 2007 - 2009 (Wall St. Journal, 2/12/10).

FACT: "New research shows that the figure widely quoted by the media showing the difference in lifetime earnings between college graduates and high-school alumni ($800,000 or more) is way off. According to Dr. Mark Schneider, a vice president of the American Institutes for Research, those numbers don't take into account deductions from income taxes or breaks in employment; nor do they factor in debt, particularly student debt loads, which have ballooned for both public and private colleges in recent years. Dr. Schneider estimated the actual lifetime-earnings advantage for college graduates is a mere $279,893. Even among graduates of top-tier institutions, the earnings came in well below the million-dollar mark, he says. Sandy Baum, an emeritus Skidmore College economics professor, says $450,000 is her estimate of the difference in lifetime earnings" (Wall St. Journal, 2/2/10).

FACT: For more than half of all married couples in America today, the spouses have equal levels of education, which is a dramatic change from the 1970s when men were the better-educated (Pew Research Center study of U.S.-born spouses, ages 30 to 44; The Washington Post, 1/19/10).

FACT: College graduates lucky enough to land jobs during this recession will likely suffer lower wages for a decade or more compared to those who graduate in better times, studies show. According to a survey by Lisa Kahn, a Yale School of Management economist, those with the misfortune to graduate during a recession earn 7% to 8% less in their first year out than comparable workers who graduated in better times. The effect persists over many years, with recession-era grads earning 4% to 5% less by their 12th year out of college, and 2% less by their 18th year out (Wall St. Journal, 5/9/09).

FACT: Approximately 27% of all Americans have a four-year college degree (U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey; Wall St. Journal, 2/5/09).

FACT: The average four-year cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board for a public college is $46,700. For private colleges, the cost averages $99,900 (Forbes magazine, 2/2/09).

FACT: Overall, 50% the students who enter college never graduate. For African Americans, 60% never graduate (Forbes magazine, 2/2/09).

FACT: The average law-school graduate owes $100,000 in student debt (Forbes magazine, 2/2/09).

FACT: Women make up less than 20% of most executive M.B.A programs, nearly 30% of full-time M.B.A programs, and 40% of part-time M.B.A programs (Wall St. Journal, 1/21/09).

FACT: Full tuition costs for 32% of executive M.B.A students is funded by their companies, while 36% of executive M.B.A students receive just partial funding (EMBA Council; Wall St. Journal, 1/21/09).

FACT: Executive M.B.A programs can cost upward of $150,000 (Wall St. Journal, 1/21/09).

FACT: Just 10% of workers had a college degree in 1973, 12.7% in 1979 and 21% in 2007 (Economic Policy Institute statistics Associated Press, 1/18/09).

FACT: Since 1992, the jobless rate for college graduates has hovered near 2%. By contrast, the jobless rate for high-school dropouts rose as high as 12.2% in 1992 (Associated Press, 1/18/09).

FACT: When workers graduate from high school, their average wage jumps about 32%, from $11.38 to $15.01 an hour. If they attend college but don't get a degree, their wages rise about 13%. But if they graduate, their average hourly wage leaps 77% to $26.51 an hour. Getting an advanced degree boosts earnings 27%, to $33.57 (2008 Economic Policy Institute study; Associated Press, 1/18/09).

FACT: 70% of high-school graduates go on to college. In 1973, just 47% of high-school graduates did the same (Time magazine, 12/9/09).

 

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