Why College?

unemployment & weekly earnings vs educational attainment

This is a broad "average" degree picture. For finer (more specific) sampling of degree picture (i.e., by degrees in which field), see "What's It Worth" for Georgetown University's May 2011 study. STEM fields are tops (and still are in 2017). See Vox Education's charts for what jobs liberal arts majors actually get. For a look at particular colleges/universities (mostly 4 year and above), see the Chronicle of Higher Education's College Reality Check and other articles from a web search of "what's it worth college degree". For California community college students: see the "SalarySurfer" website prepared by the CCCCO about the earnings of recent graduates who received a degree in a specific program area at California community colleges. You choose the program (discipline) area, and it will give you potential wages to be earned two years and five years after receiving a certificate or degree in certain disciplines.

Finally, for policymakers and those who fund community colleges: Where Value Meets Values: The Economic Impact of Community Colleges from the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Community college students earn back $4.80 for every dollar spent on their education and tax payers save $6.80 for every dollar spent. Community colleges are the "best bang for the buck". At Bakersfield College, we're doing a better job at preparing our students for upper division classes than are the four-year universities: there is a more than 20% differential between our students who transfer to four-year schools completing their bachelors than students who start out at the four-year schools. For a systemwide view, see the 2016 UC Accountability Report and the UCOP Transfer Action Team Report.

Annual earnings link -- Rates over time

last updated: June 29, 2017


Contact: Nick Strobel