The United States is one of the most highly-educated countries in the world, with more than half of all college graduates having graduated with a bachelor’s degree, according to the Brookings Institution.
But there are few ways to increase that share.
And even those who do graduate with a degree often have trouble finding a job or finding a home.
In some cases, students can be stuck in a cycle of low wages, joblessness and financial ruin.
The Brookings Institution has compiled an interactive map that offers some clues about how much people earning a bachelor of arts degree can expect to earn over the long term, based on their current pay and earnings.
Here are some of the findings.
Students earn more over time The median earnings of a bachelor degree holder in 2021 is $100,000, compared with $81,000 for a high school diploma holder, according the Brookings study.
But that figure doesn’t take into account the cost of living.
A recent study from the Institute for College Access & Success found that median income for students who had earned a bachelor in college is nearly $70,000 higher than the national average.
Students in STEM fields earn more The median income of a STEM graduate is $84,000.
That is more than three times higher than for a general education major and more than five times higher for an associate’s degree holder.
In contrast, the median income across all occupations is just $20,000 less than the median earnings for students in STEM majors, according ToS.
The higher median earnings come from higher levels of education, particularly STEM majors.
College grads tend to have lower unemployment rates A college graduate with only a high-school diploma has a 12.7% unemployment rate compared with a 7.3% unemployment of a high student with a college degree, the study found.
Those with a Bachelor’s degree are more likely to be college-ready than those with a high secondary school diploma.
A college grad with a diploma from a public or private school with more students graduating from college in 2021 than high school graduates had a 3.2% unemployment percentage compared with 3.3%, the Brookings report found.
The median household income of college graduates is slightly lower than that of a general degree holder, but it is higher than that for high school grads.
In 2021, the household income for a college graduate was $71,000 and for high grads, $63,000 compared with the national median.
More than half (54%) of students with a general or post-graduate education earn less than $60,000 a year.
This is more common for students with lower education levels, but also reflects that the median household incomes of students in the STEM field are lower.
The income of students earning a Bachelor of Arts degree is $77,000 or slightly less than that earned by students in high school.
College graduates are more educated than those who did not graduate With only one-quarter (24%) of those with bachelor’s degrees earning more than $100.000, those who have completed their college degree are also more educated.
Some college graduates are struggling with debt Despite earning higher earnings and a higher income, the majority of students graduating with a master’s degree or higher do not have significant student loan debt, according data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
The Federal Reserve reported in October that about 41% of all bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded in 2021 were earned by graduates who did or did not have debt.
Many college graduates struggle to find jobs After graduation, students typically have little or no savings, which often limits the amount of money they can put toward college expenses.
A majority of people with a post-graduation bachelor’s or master’s program do not find employment, according TOS data.
Some colleges offer financial aid that’s not available to students with other majors and minor electives.
Many graduates have difficulty paying for college and can’t find jobs after graduation, according The Washington Times.
Most people with bachelor of Arts degrees earn less money than their high school classmates, but the median salary for those with only an associate degree is just over $50,000 more than the average student with an associate.
A graduate with an Associate of Arts from an accredited institution earns $62,000 over the course of their college career, but students with an undergraduate degree earn just $42,000 in total.
Some people with graduate degrees earn significantly less than those without.
The average earnings of those who graduated with bachelor or master degrees are $85,000 versus $84 in a high School graduate and $58,000 among those who were not graduates.
A large percentage of students who earn a degree get a high degree, not a master degree, and a high college degree does not make a difference in their future income.
But a master of arts