Hugh Pickens writes "The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that with tuition rising and a weak job market everyone seems to be debating the value of a college degree. Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, says talking about the bachelor's degree in general doesn't make a whole lot of sense, because its financial payoff is heavily affected by what that degree is in and which college it is from. For the first time, researchers analyzed earnings based on 171 college majors and the differences are striking: For workers whose highest degree is a bachelor's, median incomes ranged from $29,000 for counseling-psychology majors to $120,000 for petroleum-engineering majors but the data also revealed earnings differences within groups of similar majors. Within the category of business majors, for instance, business-economics majors had the highest median pay, $75,000 while business-hospitality management earned $50,000. The study concludes that while there is a lot of variation in earnings over a lifetime, all undergraduate majors are worth it, even taking into account the cost of college and lost earnings with the lifetime advantage ranging from $1,090,000 for Engineering majors to $241,000 for Education majors. 'The bottom line is that getting a degree matters, but what you take matters more,' (PDF) concludes Carnevale." Last week we learned that dropping out of college could earn you $100,000 in start-up money for your business.
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