How Much Is a Masters Worth? 25 Stats, Studies and Infographics

How long will it take for you to recover financially from obtaining a master’s degree? Be sure to take advantage of any scholarships and grants available for your major, as this effort will help to reduce your bill upon graduation. The following list of 25 stats, studies and infographics can help you visualize the total cost, and also how much you might be worth when you graduate.

  1. Academic DiversityAcademic Diversity: This article points to a statistic that shows the nation’s top chief executives often find the path to the corner office through a less expensive state university, rather than an Ivy League school. Some high-tech CEOs even quit college when they felt they had a great idea.
  2. Average Student Loan by StateAverage Student Loan Debt By State: Iowa has the highest student debt, averaging $26,208 per student. This rate could be explained by the fact that the cost of attending Iowa State University has increased by 71.2 percent. This price is about the same as private school in the Northeast.
  3. Average Student IncomeBreakdown of Average Student Income: If you’re wondering how much that undergrad or master’s degree might be worth, think about wasted money. Look for ways to cut corners and save money, and it may take less time to eliminate your debt upon graduation. That’s the fast route to early savings.
  4. College in AmericaCollege in America: This graphic points to some of the stranger points in earning a college education. A hundred grand for an ivy-league wine-making degree? Students spend more than $5.5 billion per year on alcohol? This poster may make you think about how you could waste college funds.
  5. Does a College Degree Protect Your CareerDoes a College Degree Protect your Career? The teenage unemployment rate is the highest in nearly half a century coming in at over 24.2 percent. Additionally, individuals with college degrees are facing the highest unemployment in two decades since records started being kept.
  6. Education and EarningsEducation and Earnings: The Economist looks at how well-educated and well-off fathers tend to pass advantages on down to their sons in Europe. In Ireland, sons of fathers with a university degree are nearly 70 percent more likely to pursue the same. In Britain, sons are about only 40 percent more likely to go to college if their dad did.
  7. Education PaysEducation Pays: Sometimes when working your way through college, it’s difficult to step outside and see the long-term impact and value a good education has on one’s life. According to statistics, the odds are in your favor that you will get paid for your hard work at school over the course of your lifetime.
  8. Experience LevelsExperience Levels: When it comes to experience, an engineer with four years on the job has a median income of $51,100, but the income levels jump to the $62,000 mark when the worker hits the five-to-nine-year experience level. An engineer with a master’s degree in engineering makes $98,031.
  9. Does a College Degree HelpHow Much Does Having a College Degree Help You Get a Job? People with a college education have less than one third the unemployment rate of those without a high school degree. Source for this graph is from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics.
  10. Mixed ResultsIs your degree worth $1 million — or worthless? This report by Liz Pulliam Weston shows that a master’s degree in a liberal arts or social sciences field, on average, doesn’t offer any financial payoff. Figures show that a liberal arts master’s degree earned just $5 a month more, on average, than someone with a bachelor’s in the same field.
  11. Is College Worth the CostLearning and earning: A new report from the OECD, a rich country think-tank, attempts to measure how much more graduates can expect to earn compared with those who seek jobs without having a degree. In America, the lifetime gross earnings of male graduates are, on average, nearly $370,000 higher than non-graduates.
  12. Lower Unemployment RatesLower Unemployment Rates: If you want to stay out of the unemployment line, finish your college degree. The lowest unemployment rate for a degree is for someone earning a professional degree, which results in around 1.7 percent of people collecting unemployment.
  13. Masters Degrees by FieldMaster’s and Doctoral Degrees Earned by Field: In 2005–06, more than half of the master’s degrees awarded to American Indians/Alaska Natives were in the fields of education or business. Nearly half of the doctoral degrees awarded to American Indians/ Alaska Natives were in the fields of education, psychology, and social sciences and history.
  14. Masters Degree in Modern LanguagesMaster’s Degree in the Modern Languages Since 1966: The story of the master’s degree in English and foreign languages since 1966 is most dramatically a story about women’s access to areas of study traditionally dominated by men, and more generally a story about how economic shifts influence students’ degree decisions.
  15. Mean Earnings by DegreeMean Earnings by Degree: The cost of education is dependent upon level of graduate study, discipline and residency, but a graduate degree offers benefits such as a boost to your earning potential, the amount of freedom and autonomy you have in your job, and your rate of advancement.
  16. Methods of training leading to certificationMethods of Training Leading to Certification: Over two-thirds of the respondents in this study received the training that led to certification in technology education or industrial arts. 22 respondents received their technology education teacher training as part of a master’s degree program.
  17. Separation of DegreesSeparation of Degrees: A state devoting between 1 and 2 percent of current expenditures to master’s degrees can point to 28 other states with the same habit. This may be a weak excuse for such spending patterns, but the existence of seven states with lower investment levels may focus the minds of leaders looking for sensible ways to manage the fiscal crisis.
  18. Student LoansStudent Loans by the Numbers: 39 percent of graduates will take 10 years to pay back student loans, and 28 percent of graduates will delay having children because of these loans. A college degree still may be the best investment, as you could make approximately $800,000 more over your lifetime than your high school friends who stayed home.
  19. Ubiquity of Bachelors DegreesThe Ubiquity of the Bachelors Degree Is Reaching a Tipping Point: Since 1950, the population of individuals with bachelor’s degrees has gone from 5 percent to 27 percent. Today, there are around the same number of people holding bachelor’s degrees as there were people who held high school diplomas in 1950.
  20. Value of College DegreeThe Value Of A College Degree In Today’s Job Market: Not having a college degree makes you three times more likely to be unemployed. There is no such thing as a totally recession-proof degree or job, however the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) statistics shows that a degree is a valuable tool for career stability.
  21. Variety of ChangeThe Variety of Change: Engineering degree production has increased substantially in recent years. From 2000 to 2008, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees increased by 16, 29, and 51 percent, respectively. At the top is biomedical engineering, where master’s degrees have grown by 157 percent.
  22. Unemployment Rates by DegreeUnemployment Rates by Degree: The United States Department of Education which shows that people with a college education have less than one third of the unemployment rate of those without a high school degree. Sources gathered from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics.
  23. Who is Coming to AmericaWho is Coming to America? The academic year 2008-09, approximately 671,616 foreign students attended U.S. institutions. As more foreign students come to American universities, they take the places of American students, meaning fewer Americans receive a quality education.
  24. Women Education and Income Women, Education, & Income: According to 2004-2005 school year data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), women outnumbered men in terms of earning associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Women who graduated from four-year colleges earned about 76 percent more than women with only a high school diploma.
  25. Women Now Dominate Higher EducationWomen Now Dominate Higher Education at Every Degree Level: Of the more than 3 million college degrees for the Class of 2009, women will earn close to 60 percent of those degrees, or almost 149 degrees for every 100 degrees earned by men. The last year that men earned more Master’s degrees than women was 1984-1985.
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