For those that choose not to go to college, the odds are worse than a roll of a die.
In high school, when I tried to talk a close friend into going to college, he informed me that “(name redacted) doesn’t have a college degree and she’s making tons of money!” At the time, I brushed the comment aside and assumed my friend was in denial. However, I do know several people who have never gone to college and make a very good living.We know this can’t be the norm, so what are the odds of a high school graduate out-earning someone with a college degree?
There is an answer to this question, although as a college graduate, I vastly underestimated high school graduates. Georgetown did a study called “The College Payoff” which analyzed how education level affects income and provided the chart below to show the odds of one education level out-earning another.
According to the findings, high school graduates have about a one in seven chance of out-earning someone with a bachelors degree (a roll of a fair die is a one in six chance). They have a little less than a one in ten chance in out earning someone with a master’s degree. To become the highest earning high school graduates and out-earn those with a doctorate, high school graduates would need to be on the lucky side of more than one in twenty. With those odds, most people are better off attending on campus and online universities.
Before you you write-off a college education to gamble with the odds, you should know that someone with a bachelors degree has better than a one out of three chance of out earning someone with a masters and better than a one in four chance of out-pacing a someone with a doctorate.
Having a college education doesn’t just provide a 15% return on investment. It more than quintuples your odds at achieving the highest possible earning potential.
So you can take your chance in not pursuing a bachelors degree, but your better off rolling a die.