New Report Dispels Some Concerns Over the Question of College Worth

Is college worth it

With college enrollment down and the cost of attendance higher than ever, many would-be students have begun to question whether a four-year degree is worth the expense.  A new report from the HEA Group may offer some much-needed encouragement. Entitled Ensuring A Living Wage Through Higher Education, the report is not without a few words of caution for prospective college enrollees, though.  

Using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, researchers examined annual wages reported by roughly 5 million students from nearly 4,000 postsecondary institutions across the United States. A close analysis determined whether these students met certain economic benchmarks and compared the results to individuals with just a high school diploma.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Graduates from 56% of colleges earned more than the typical high school graduate 10 years after enrollment.
  • Over 150 schools graduated students who made only slightly more than the poverty threshold.
  • Most college graduates who fell behind their peers with high school diplomas attended for-profit schools offering non-degree awards.

These results indicate that earning a degree can be worth it for many students, but not by a great margin. Founder and President of The HEA Group, Michael Itzkowitz remarks, “College is, indeed, worth it, but paying for it can be ‘substantially riskier’ depending on the type of school you attend or the credential you seek.”


To reap the full benefits of an academic degree, it’s now more important than ever for students to make informed choices about college attendance. Our editors here at CVO are committed to providing research-backed college rankings for specific degree programs, ensuring readers have access to the best information available regarding which schools and which degrees are worth their tuition dollars.

Complete data from the report can be downloaded from The HEA Group’s website.