Nov 17, 2021
Paying for College

Interactive: The College Payoff

Hat tip to Jessica for pointing out this most excellent resource.

It's a question that high school graduates (and their families) are asking more and more frequently: Is college worth it? This interactive from Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workplace won't answer that question for students but rather is likely to lead to more thought-provoking questions as they dive into the data. 

Scroll down the page to this section which shows the range of lifetime earnings based on highest degree earned; from less than high school to professional degree: 


  • Looking at the median lifetime earnings (the dot) for each level of education, what do you notice about the relationship between the level of education and lifetime earnings? 
  • What is the differential in the median earnings of someone with a Bachelor's degree (4 year degree) vs. someone with a high school degree? 
  • What do you notice about the range of earnings for each educational level (the interactive uses the 25th to 75th percentile)? What do you think explains the wide variance in lifetime earnings for those who have the same level of education? 
  • Students also have the opportunity to explore how lifetime earnings will vary based on a variety of factors including age, gender, race and undergraduate major. Have students choose at least two of these factors and explain what they learned from analyzing the data. 


Only 1 day left to get your student's entry into the Payback Challenge. Deadline is Friday, November 19th). Have your students play the Arcade game PAYBACK and then respond to a prompt either through an essay or a video. You select the best from your class. It's that easy and your student will have an opportunity to earn up to a $2,500 scholarship. 


 Lots more interactives to sift through on the NGPF Blog. Check them out here. 



About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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