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This question of whether a college degree is worth it has come up a number of times over the past year as student loan debt skyrockets, stifling the financial ambitions of many people seeking a higher education. But according to a closer examination of Labor Department statistics (conducted by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington), college graduates far out-earned those without the degree in 2013. Workers with college degrees made a whopping 98 percent more per hour on average in 2013 than those without. Workers who have some college but never finished are also earning less.

A lot of people went back to school during the recession, in the hopes of beefing up their skills. According to The New York Times, we’re still not producing enough college graduates to close the wage gap.

“The decision not to attend college for fear that it’s a bad deal is among the most economically irrational decisions anyone could make in 2014,” David Leonhardt writes in The New York TimesThe decision not to go to college can cost you up to $500,000 the article continues. The unemployment rate for those between the ages of 25 and 34 with a college degree is three percent.

Earning a two-year degree is also highly beneficial, with those graduates seeing less joblessness and moving into solid careers like nursing or airplane pilot.

The problem with the two-year degree, however, is the high dropout rate. The cost of starting a degree and making the investment — of both time and money –without completing the degree can be overwhelming.

But overall, the stats show that education is always a good investment.


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