DeAnn Vaught

On average, an Arkansan with a bachelor’s degree will earn $700,000 more in a 30 year career than those who drop out of college. The gap climbs to $1.5 million for those with a doctorate.

This information is included in the 2018 Economic Security Report which was presented this week to the Arkansas Legislative Council Higher Education Sub-Committee.

The report makes clear that the cost to obtain any certificates or degrees at an Arkansas public postsecondary institution is significantly lower than the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in additional average career earnings.  

Not including living expenses, the estimated cost in Arkansas for an associate’s degree is $10,000. The estimated cost for a bachelor’s degree $30,000.

Each level of educational achievement provides a boost in earnings power. In fact, the report shows a significant difference in earnings just the first year. On average, first year earnings for Arkansans with a bachelor’s degree are $31,800. Average first year earnings for high school graduates are $11,900.

Employment rates are also impacted by levels of education. First year full-time employment rates for college dropouts is 29 percent. The rates climb to 44 percent for Arkansans with a Certificate of Proficiency and 58 percent for those with an associate’s degree.

In most cases, what you study matters more than where you study. For those with an associate’s degree, science technology and health professionals make the most in average first year earnings. For those with bachelor’s degrees, engineering students make the most in average first year earnings.

Studies of health professions are the most popular over all degree areas in Arkansas as well as being the most popular choice for Certificates of Proficiency, Technical Certificates, and First Professional degrees. The most common Bachelor’s degree programs are in Business, Management, and Marketing.

Although each graduate’s success will reflect a variety of factors such as the local job market, where they choose to live, and what area they chose to study, the Economic Report provides valuable information as students and parents consider education and career choices. We have posted the report on our websitewww.arkansashouse.org.

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