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Here's How Long It Actually Takes For That College Degree To Pay Off

New research from The College Board says it takes more than a decade to regain the cost of the average bachelor's degree.
Posted at 9:35 AM, Jan 10, 2017

Is getting a college degree really worth it?

New research from The College Board says it is. But the payoff takes a while.

According to the board's report, it takes the average college graduate about 12 years to regain the cost of getting a bachelor's degree. That cost includes the price of tuition plus any wages lost from not being in the workforce for four years.

Twelve years might seem like a pretty long time to be in the red. But researchers say college grads reap many other benefits in the meantime.

The report notes in 2015, median earnings of bachelor's degree recipients age 25 and older were 67 percent higher than those with only a high school diploma. That's nearly a $25,000 difference.

And, aside from the financial advantages, college graduates are also more likely to exercise, volunteer, vote in elections and have job benefits like health insurance.

As The College Board's senior policy research scientist said in a statement, "A college education is an investment that pays dividends over the course of a lifetime — even for students who accumulate some debt to obtain a degree."