It has long been accepted that bachelor’s degree are a safe bet for personal and financial success. [Some estimates](http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703822404575019082819966538.html?mod=WSJ_Careers_NewsTrends) put the difference in lifetime earnings of college grads over high school grads to be between $700,000 and $1 million. Yet, researchers are beginning to disagree with the validity of these previous findings. New studies show tuition increases, employment gaps, and student loans may have cut the earnings difference in half.
Mark Schneider, who labeled the earlier figures “a million-dollar misunderstanding,” has estimated the lifetime earnings differential to only be around $250,000. He claims that previous studies don’t take into account tax deductions, employment gaps, or student loan payments, which can drastically reduce the economic value of higher education. Moreover, he notes that most of the figures used in the earlier calculations were from 1999, when tuition was $26,273 less than it is today. Ultimately, the new consensus is that while a bachelor’s degree has economic value to it, income varies widely based on majors and career paths, and so predicting a quantitative figure is nearly impossible.
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