What’s the Value of an Associate’s Degree? The Return on Investment for Graduates and Taxpayers
Given the high cost of earning a degree—and, frequently, accompanying debt burden that goes with it—students, parents, policymakers, and the media are questioning higher education's value. The report's authors look at the labor market success of students with an associate’s degree from a community college as their highest academic credential. These grads earn more income and are less likely to be unemployed than high school students.
The authors explored these questions:
- Do graduates who earn an associate’s degree and find jobs experience returns, such as higher wages, that justify the costs they incurred obtaining that degree?
- Do taxpayers receive a positive return on their investment in the production of associate’s degrees?