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Winter 2000-01 Vol. 44, Number 4

Degrees to dollars: Earnings of college graduates in 1998

Learn more, earn more? Yes, but how much more? That depends on occupation and degree. Choose wisely, and you might be repaying your student loans with ease.

The familiar adage is still true: College graduates usually earn more than other workers do. But the earnings of individual graduates are more difficult to predict. In 1998, the top 10 percent of college graduates made 3 times more than the bottom 10 percent. This article uses data from a Federal Government survey to find out what distinguished the high earners from the low.

College graduates tend to have high salaries because they qualify for many of the highest paying and fastest growing occupations in the economy. And even in occupations where a degree usually is not required, college graduates often earn more than do high school graduates with no college degree.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: June 27, 2001