Degrees of Value: Differences in the Wages of Graduates From Virginia’s Colleges and Universities
As student debt piles up and college costs escalate, concern about the value of a college degree has grown. While a college education is an investment in human capital that leads, on average, to significantly higher earnings over the course of a person’s work life, the data in this report show wide variation in the payoff of a college education across different fields of study and among students completing different postsecondary credentials. Graduates of some programs have a much higher chance of attaining high earnings than graduates of other programs. Variation also exists across institutions, although program of study is often more important than the college or university attended.
The goals of the detailed information in this report and on the accompanying website are to help students make better informed decisions about carving out the best path through their postsecondary education, to aid them in wisely choosing their majors, and to guide them in figuring out how much money to borrow to help pay for their education. The data in this report show that wages of graduates vary considerably across programs and across institutions in Virginia.