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USG: Graduate Degree Earners Will Earn $247K More Over Life of Career

The University System of Georgia says a recent study indicates Class of 2020 students with graduate degrees will see benefits of more than $247,000 over the life of their career and those without a graduate degree.

Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Ph.D., is the director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. He recently conducted a study for the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents along with Alexandria P. Hill. The study, titled “Lifetime Earnings for University System of Georgia Class of 2020,” showed how work-life earnings increase substantially with each step up in earned degree.

USG’s 2020 graduates who work in Georgia are expected to bring in a combined of $175 billion in lifetime earnings, of which $59 billion (34 percent) can be attributed to their degrees.

The report concluded with a number of estimations, including:

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  • Over a high school diploma, the increase in median work-life earnings of a Georgia resident with a certificate is $238,455.
  • In Georgia, the work-life earnings of individuals with an associate degree will be $377,000 more than for those with a high school diploma.
  • The work-life earnings of Georgians with a bachelor’s degree will be $1,152,000 more than for those with a high school diploma.
  • So, high school graduates who obtain a bachelor’s degree will boost their work-life earnings in Georgia by 82%, which exceeds the 80% increase estimated for the nation as a whole.

The estimated payoff in terms of work-life earnings for people who go to graduate school is positive, but smaller than estimated for the U.S. For example, Georgians who earn a master’s degree will boost their work-life earnings by $247,000, or 10%. That number pales in comparison to the $450,000 (17%) increase in work-life earnings estimated for the U.S. as a whole.

A professional degree is worth an additional $1,015,000 and a Ph.D. increases work-life earnings by an additional $638,000 over a master’s degree.

You can read the complete report below.

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