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Many college degrees cost more than what they pay out in a lifetime

Many college degrees cost more than what they pay out in a lifetime


For many aspiring students, the decision to attend college comes with scary caveats, like years of unaffordable debt. Now there’s another thing to fear: Even if having a degree leads to higher earning potential down the line, a new analysis says about 30% of students won’t earn enough money to offset the price of school. 

All things considered, the decision to attend college involves a lot of financial decisions a typical high school graduate might not have enough awareness about, including how to pay off education-related debt and how much they can expect to earn from the degree they choose. High schoolers are most interested in attending college to get a good job that will help them earn more money—but about a third of degree programs don’t lead to a return on investments people pay to attend, according to the new report from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, which analyzed how much people spend on higher education versus how much they earn over their lifetimes. 

The financial returns that come from pursuing higher education are worth it more often than not, the report states, but it’s highly dependent on the major a student chooses—and it’s creating a conflict where students are choosing between trade schools to optimize their financial returns or pursuing a field they might hate, but will pay well.

On average, a bachelor’s degree in fields like engineering, computer science, nursing and economics provide the biggest financial returns on investment, or earnings in relation to how expensive the degree is, according to the report. With an engineering degree, for example, a student can expect lifetime earnings of about $950,000, while a student who completes a nursing degree could rake in a lifetime earnings of about $618,000. 

When choosing a college and degree program, the most important variable students should consider is how much they’ll earn, according to Preston Cooper, the lead author of the report.

“A high-earning career trajectory will deliver benefits for decades, while high tuition costs must be paid for a few years at most,” Cooper said.  

Other fields, especially those in fine arts, offer significantly less financial returns. A bachelor’s degree in psychology, the humanities, or English and literature are among those with the lowest financial returns; on average, students who pursue a degree in fine arts actually lost about $88,000 over their lifetimes.  

In these fields,…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Fortune | FORTUNE…