Will Two Years at College Earn You More Than Four?

Some interesting research has been compiled that disrupts the notion that a four-year degree has more value than a two-year degree, especially if you count value as the amount of green dollar bills filling your wallet each month. CollegeMeasures.org conducted a study that looked at state-level data to determine how much graduates earned one year after graduating with either an associate's or bachelor's degree. Per this College Board report, the average tuition for a full-time student enrolled at a community college is $2, 713. Compare that with some of the more expensive colleges, such as Columbia University, which has a net price of $43,124 per year for tuition and fees for all undergraduates. Even those of us with rusty math skills can quickly calculate the return on investment one can garner from a low-cost college degree coupled with a higher salary after graduation.

In a Forbes article entitled "Forget Four More Years", J. Maureen Henderson reminds us that:

Not only is community college a more affordable option for cash-strapped high school grads unwilling or unable to shell out the tuition for a public or private college education, these schools have a long history of catering to non-traditional students – adult learners, those seeking to re-enter the workforce after a break, part-time students with outside job and family obligations – with flexible class options and accelerated, practical curriculum.

There is one caveat, however. Per the CollegeMeasures data, you will need an associate's degree in a technical or occupational program to earn, the $40,000+ required to out-earn those graduating with bachelor's degrees in those same fields and earning on average $36,067. For more details on the statistics, visit "In the math of education, two years sometimes is worth more than four years" at Today.com, or the CollegeMeasures.org website.