The Rising Cost of Not Going to College
For those who question the value of college in this era of soaring student debt and high unemployment, the attitudes and experiences of today’s young adults—members of the so-called Millennial generation—provide a compelling answer. On virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment—from personal earnings to job satisfaction to the share employed full time— young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education. And when today’s young adults are compared with previous generations, the disparity in economic outcomes between college graduates and those with a high school diploma or less formal schooling has never been greater in the modern era. These assessments are based on findings from a new nationally representative Pew Research Center survey of 2,002 adults supplemented by a Pew Research analysis of economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This report presents the main findings of the survey.