Question of the Day: How much more per hour does a college grad earn compared to someone with some college?

Apr 11, 2018
Paying for College, Career, Employment, Economics, Question of the Day, Chart of the Week

Answer: About $13 per hour MORE (or over $26,000 per year)


  • Why do you think that college grads earn so much more than those who start but don't complete?
  • How has the wage premium changed over the last 40 years? Do you think this wage premium will increase or decrease in the future?
  • Your friend says that spending $20,000/year to go to college isn't worth it when you can get a job now that pays $25,000. Agree or disagree with him based on the data in the chart. 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (from NY Times):

If anything, the consequences of failing to complete college seem to be increasing, as the economy becomes ever more technologically advanced. Since 2000, the average inflation-adjusted wage of workers with some college credit but no degree has actually fallen, by 2 percent, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute. The average wage of college graduates is up 6 percent.


Here's another favorite in our Paying for College unit: Interactive: Make a 4-Year Plan for College









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.