Georgia University System Graduates Will Earn More Than $1 Million More Over Their Lifetime

Class of 2021 graduates — including those from Georgia Southern University — will earn more than $1 million more in their lifetime than they would without going to college and earning their bachelor’s degrees, according to a new study of the University System of Georgia (USG).

Conducted on behalf of USG by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Ph.D., director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, the study revealed the breakdown of what each level higher education can add to a USG graduate’s total lifetime earnings.

“The difference higher education makes in a person’s life is dramatic,” said US Chancellor Sonny Perdue. “Whether you’re a high school graduate trying to decide between going to college or entering the workforce, or you’re a mid-career adult wanting to improve your earning potential by graduating or completing your education This study clearly demonstrates a college degree in Georgia is a worthwhile investment.

Perdue announced at the August 9 Board of Regents meeting the creation of a new website, Georgia Degrees Pay, where students and their families can glean comparative information about schools, majors, academic achievements, future costs and revenues. The Future Earnings tool allows users to view post-graduation earnings by major and institution. It also compares a range of earnings by academic field one, five, and 10 years after graduation.

The new Lifetime Earnings Report offers further evidence of how earnings increase dramatically with each stage of degree earned. On average, each degree generates additional income over a person’s lifetime in…

  • Certificate: + $238,455
  • Associate degree: +$377,000
  • Bachelor’s degree: + $1,152,500
  • Masters: +$1,399,500
  • Professional degree: + $2,167,500
  • PhD: +$2,037,500

Based on work-life earnings estimates for Georgia, the analysis showed that USG’s 70,641 graduates in the Class of 2021 can expect combined total earnings of $179 billion, or $60 billion. more dollars than they could expect to earn if they hadn’t gone to college or graduate school.

This means that in total, the collective value of degrees awarded by USG is $60 billion.

The study shows that graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree will earn more than $1 million more over their lifetime. Taking into account degrees less than four years old, the average amount of additional income is $845,341.

The average increase in lifetime earnings fluctuates from year to year for each cohort depending on the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded relative to other degree categories. Bachelor’s degrees have the biggest impact on lifetime earnings.

“The economic value of a college education over a graduate’s working life is substantial,” the study says. The full lifetime earnings report is available on the USG website.

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