The escalating cost of a college education has many young people wondering whether a bachelor's degree is worth the expense.
Given the current lackluster state of the job market, some are deciding that it's not worth going into debt for tens of thousands of dollars only to find themselves on the unemployment line.
Statistics show, however, that college graduates are likely to earn much more than their counterparts who hold only a high-school diploma.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with bachelor's degrees had median annual earnings of $57,026, based on monthly surveys from 2006 through 2008, the most recent available. That's 40 percent more than the median $34,197 annual income brought home by those with just a high-school education.
Workers with four-year college degrees are also much more likely to be employed. Having a bachelor's degree not only improves your chances of landing a job, it decreases the likelihood of losing your job.
Data from From 2005 through 2009 show the unemployment rate for those with a four-year college degree was roughly half that of those with just a high-school diploma.
In 2009, for example, the average jobless rate for high-school graduates stood at 9.7 percent, but those with bachelor's degree had a much lower unemployment rate -- 4.6 percent.
Further, despite the trend toward more college graduates, studies show that by 2025 there will be roughly three times the number of jobs for holders of bachelor's degrees, compared to those that require only an associate degree or less.
Another benefit that four-year college graduates enjoy is the ability to specialize in nearly any field they desire, since a bachelor's degree greatly increases the number of career opportunities, according to Rasmussen College, a private career college.
Still, many are impeded by cost, time, family matters and other factors from completing a college education, Rasmussen notes. But the completion of a bachelor's degree can make managing those challenges easier.
from Rasmussen College
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