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Solutions for our Future is an effort to raise awareness that higher education is one of America's greatest resources

The Individual

Education pays very well. It has a high rate of return for students from all racial/ethnic groups, and for men and for women, for those from all family backgrounds. It also has a high rate of return for society.

In addition to the higher earnings enjoyed by individuals who have attended or graduated from college, we all benefit from the higher tax revenues, the lower demands on social support programs, and the higher productivity generated by the highly educated.

Earning a college degree increases earnings

  • Among full-time year-round workers between the ages of 25 and 34, white, black and Hispanic four-year college graduates earn an average of about 60% more than high school graduates in the same demographic groups.

  • The earnings premium for Asian Americans is even higher, at about 80%.

  • The average annual earnings premium of a four-year college graduate between the ages of 25 and 34 -- almost $15,000 -- equals almost three years of tuition and fees at the average public college or university.

  • Median earnings for male college graduates are 60% higher than median earnings for high school graduates. For females, the earnings premium for a college degree is 58%.

Our colleges and universities teach students how to learn and think critically, and they prepare citizens to solve the problems that face our country.

Individual opportunity in America is, and has always been, a strong democratic value.  And never before has ´┐Żopportunity´┐Ż been more dependent on education. But right now, our country ranks ninth worldwide in college enrollment rates.  As access to higher education diminishes, so does the opportunity for individual economic mobility.

ACE Logo Solutions for Our Future
American Council on Education
One Dupont Circle, NW
Washington DC, 20036
Phone: (202) 939-9456
Solutions for Our Future is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education and may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the American Council on Education.