It takes an average of 12 years for the full value of a college degree to kick in, according to a report from the College Board.
The average age a person will have recouped the cost of a college degree, including time spent out of the workforce, is age 34, CNN Money reports.
But there are other ways a college degree pays off before age 34.
College graduates with a full-time job earned a median of 67 percent more than high school grads in 2016. Those figures do not include those who went on to receive advanced degrees.
The unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds with a Bachelor’s degree was just 2.6 percent in 2016, more than five percentage points below the unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma.
“A higher education is an investment that pays dividends over the course of a lifetime — even for students who accumulate some debt to obtain a degree,” said Jennifer Ma, senior policy research scientist at the College Board.
The average undergraduate graduated with $30,100 in student loan debt.
The report came to the conclusion that most people would recoup the cost of a degree by 34, assuming that students graduated in four years, paid a 4.3 percent interest rate on loans, and finished paying off debt in ten years.
The median income for 30- to 34-year-olds is $40,944 for those with a Bachelor’s degree and $31,807 for those with a high school diploma or less, according to the report.