Publihighered

B.A. holders value their education most

The Federal Reserve in its Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2019 measures well-being by education attainment. What they found is those with a B.A. or more value their education more than those with lower education attainment.

Specifically they asked survey respondents who ever attended college “Overall, how would you say the lifetime financial benefits of your most recent educational program compare to its costs?” The response: 31 percent with some college or technical degree thought the benefits of their education was greater than the costs; 48 percent of those with an associate’s degree; and 69 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or more.

B.A. holders valuing their education the most is, of course, consistent with the data we have frequently explored that those with a four-year degree or more work more and earn more over a career than those with lower education attainment.

What it is not consistent with is the story we are told year after year that getting a four-year degree is no longer worthwhile. Those with a B.A. don’t buy that story at all!

When asked about changes they would make to earlier education decisions only five percent of those with a B.A. or more said they would not attend college or get less education. 35 percent said they would have completed more education.

This compares to 69 percent of those with an associate’s degree who said they would have completed more education. And 76 percent of those with some college or technical degree. So large majorities of those who attended college but without a B.A. say they did not get enough education. They also don’t believe the oft-told story that pursuing more education is no longer worthwhile.

What about those who took out students loans to fund their post-secondary education? One of the reason given for a four-year degree not being worthwhile anymore is perceived high debt loads. 18-39 year old B.A. holders who ever took out a student loan don’t believe that.

Of those 18-39 who have paid off their student loans 93 percent of those with a B.A. or more say that they are doing at least okay financially. Compared to 71 percent of those 18-39 with some college or a technical or associate’s degree.

For those 18-39 still paying off a student loan 76 percent with a B.A. or more say they are doing at least okay financially compared to 53 percent of those with some college or a technical or associate’s degree.

The economic well-being report provides data on why those with a four-year degree or more value their education more than those with lower education attainment. They have higher income: 43 percent of those with a high school degree or less; 58 percent of those with some college or a technical degree; 67 percent with an associate’s degree; and 84 percent of those with a B.A. or more had household income in 2019 of $40,000 or more.

So it is clear that those with a four-year degree or more value their education more than those with less education. Their life experience is that they are better off financially because they have a B.A. including those who took out a student loan.

And they are giving that message to their kids. The report finds that 72 percent of those 22-29 with at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree have a B.A. This compares to 35 percent with a B.A. of those 22-29 with at least one parent with some college but neither with a bachelor’s degree and 19 percent of those with both parents having a high school degree or less.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.