56 percent of Kentucky’s
jobs are projected to
require some college
While every personshould have a high schooldiploma or GED, if that isall you have, you are
twice as likely to beunemployed
with a bachelor’s degree.
Incomes for those with just some college but nodegree are
in Kentucky thanfor those with a highschool diploma or GED.
Kentucky job incumbents
with a bachelor’s degree
80 percent innearly two decades,while those with a highschool degree or less
Headlines that point to rising studentloan debt, tuition costs increasing fasterthan inflation, and recent graduateswithout jobs have led some to questionthe value of a college education. Thecost of higher education is especiallytroubling as Kentuckians struggle withthe economic setbacks of the recentrecession. However, a look at thelonger-term returns on collegecertificates and degrees reveals thatnow, more than ever, it pays to get acollege degree or credential.The return on investment forpostsecondary education continues to behigh; higher levels of education insulatecitizens from unemployment andimprove access to higher-paying jobs.Employees with a high school diploma orGED are twice as likely to be unemployedthan those with a b
achelor’s degree. The
disparity is even greater for thosewithout a high school diploma, who arethree times more likely to beunemployed than baccalaureate degreerecipients. While Kentucky has slightlyhigher unemployment rates than thenation, these same gaps can be seenacross the United States.
A college education also leads to higherearnings. The last decade has seen astable earnings gap between more- andless-educated workers. In 2002,Kentuckians with a high school diplomaor GED earned 56 cents for every dollarearned by those with a b
higher degree, and 86 cents for everydollar earned by those with some collegeor an associate degree. In 2011, theearnings of high school graduates relativeto the more educated were 58 and 87cents respectively.
The education earnings gap can be seenin long-term workers and new hires. Anew employee with some college or anassociate degree earns $2,700 more onaverage than someone with a high schoolor equivalent degree, and those with
bachelor’s or higher degrees earn
This pay difference adds up over alifetime. Using an annual wage increaseof 1 percent over a 40-year career,Kentuckians with some college or anassociate degree are projected to earnan additional $289,000 compared withhigh school graduates.
recipients are expected to earn anadditional $879,000, and people with agraduate degree can anticipate anadditional $1.34 million in earnedincome.
COLLEGE STILL PAYS