college degree better payThe College Board recently released a report defending its findings that a higher education leads to more pay for American workers.

As a supplement to its 2013 Education Pays report, the College Board – a not-for-profit membership for  colleges and universities across the country – addresses criticism that its reports may over-state the benefits of a college education.

The 2013 report finds that those who earn a bachelor’s degree will make 65% more in salary than those with just a high school education.

In the supplement to the report – entitled “How College Shapes Lives: Understanding the Issues” –  the College Board explains “some of the ways the payoff of postsecondary education can be measured and provides insights into why there is confusion about the payoff, despite strong evidence.”

The report says that some might be swayed by stories about college graduates being unable to find jobs. However, according to the College Board, such stories do not outweigh the “reality of significant benefits for most students.”

Some of the findings from the College Board include:

  • While the gap between the income of college graduates and those without a college degree does not increase every year, it does grow steadily over time.
  • When the economy is weak, such as it has been in the past few years, it sometimes takes time to ensure that going to college was “worth it.”
  • Based on current earning patterns of college workers, people with bachelor’s degrees who work full-time will make about two-thirds more than high school graduates, according to College Board.
  • While student debt is a big issue, there are actually relatively few students who “borrow excessive amounts” to attend college, although the College Board admits this is “small comfort” to those with large amounts of student loan debt.
  • Even “some college” leads to financial benefits, according to the College Board.

The report goes on to argue that the reason why so many people question the value of a college education is because of recent economic problems, which has led to many stories about college students being unable to find jobs or justify high levels of debt.

The report singles out media reports from 1982 and 1991 about how graduates were having difficulty finding jobs and how the value of a college degree has decreased. The College Board went back and found graduates mentioned in the articles, many of whom had gone on to get great jobs.

“The evidence is clear that some form of postsecondary education is a necessary element of successful, independent lives for most people in today’s economy,” the report stated.

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