Report: Average College Degree Pays Off by Age 34

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: Students throw their caps in the air ahead of their graduation ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on July 15, 2014 in London, England. Students of the London College of Fashion, Management and Science and Media and Communication attended their graduation ceremony at the Royal …
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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.


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