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College Costs More In America, But The Payoff Is Bigger

by Lam Thuy Vo
Oct 11, 2012

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Lam Thuy Vo

Students pay much more for a college education in the U.S. than they do in most other countries. But they also get a bigger return on their investment.

Here's a graphical breakdown comparing the cost and the payoff for a college education.

A few notes:

The data come from a recently published OECD report looking at educational data around the world. The cost of education includes tuition fees and living costs paid by the student, as well as earnings that students forgo by not working while they're in school.

"Benefits" is the difference in lifetime earnings between someone with a high-school degree and someone with a college degree.

For more on the difference in earnings between men and women in the U.S., see this study from Indiana University.

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