Last week I discussed some of the surprising results uncovered in the Discover Student Loans Annual Survey. Now Discover has taken that information one step further and developed a new interactive tool that proves college is still worth it, despite the rising costs.
The idea for the tool evolved from the survey’s finding that 95% of the parents surveyed felt college was either very important or somewhat important. This finding has been backed up by independent data which shows that a college education leads to higher income and lower unemployment. But is it possible to put more of an accurate personal picture on those statements? Turns out it is.
The website provides statistical background information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the financial benefits of a college education, presented by overall employment rate and gender breakdown. Those with a college degree stand to make $20,000 more per year on average than someone with only a high school diploma. This is especially true for women, whose employment numbers and income jump significantly with each degree earned.
The major concern is that college tuition rates have soared, leading to a very small percentage of parents who say they can afford all of their child’s education. Website visitors can see how tuition has increased over the past ten years, and also look at states with the highest annual tuition.
So the challenge is trying to justify college costs by looking at future earnings potential. The survey also revealed that 44% of parents would be more likely to fund their child’s education if the child majors in a field that has a higher likelihood of employment. Majors, potential earnings and job growth are all factors that can affect the return on education, so the site also offers information on various jobs in terms of potential growth and annual median pay.
There is a link to a video about which college majors land the highest-paying jobs, but the most personalized portion of the site is the interactive tool, Major Payoff. First up you can select and compare average salaries for various college degrees of your choice. Then click on one of the majors to gain insights into average salary, industry and more. In the upper left is an icon which will add each major to a queue you can use for comparison purposes.
Discover also provides a link to their $2500 scholarship contest that you can use to help pay for some of those college costs. It’s easy to enter and you earn bonus entries for sharing. No purchase or student loan necessary to enter or win. Winners will be randomly drawn on September 7, 2015, December 7, 2015, and March 7, 2016. High school seniors and undergraduate students can enter to win through February 29, 2016.
Knowing how much a college education can cost and having the ability to project future earnings should be a valuable tool in the college decision-making process.