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Infographic of the Day: Is College Really Worth It?

Is going to college really worth it? Probably so, but it’s not that clear cut, and economics have been arguing the point for 30 years. Most studies tend to show that college-educated people end up making far more money in the course of their lifetimes. (The niggle: Usually, it’s not worth paying for a private university.)

Still, that evidence isn’t totally cut and dry: What do you really learn in college? Is what you learned in college really what’s producing the value? Or is it simply the mere fact of having a college degree? Or maybe there’s something more subtle going on–that is, people who go to college tend to be more motivated or hard-working and would have ended up succeeding whatever they did?

This graph makes a couple points in that debate: 1. Whatever kids are doing in college, it doesn’t seem to be about getting an education. (Witness how students spend their hours every week.) 2. Some majors don’t really qualify you for much.

college

But who in their right mind wouldn’t recommend a college degree?

If I had a guess, I think it’s precisely that attitude that creates all the economic advantages–its the way our society is organized, rather than anything about college itself. What’s totally clear is that we definitely do not go about attending or paying for college in a way that makes any sense at all.

[Luxury Spot via WeLoveDataVis; I suspect this graphic is actually from OnlineEducation but couldn’t find it on their Web site You can find the original at Online Colleges and Universities, which seems to affilated with OnlineEducation]