This College Choice Could Make You $3Million Richer

This College Choice Could Make You $3Million Richer

iStockPhoto/The Fiscal Times
By Beth Braverman

The differences in starting salaries for STEM majors versus those who study the humanities have been widely publicized. Now, a new study looks at how those differences add up over a lifetime of earnings – and the results are staggering. 

The lowest paid graduates, early childhood education majors, earn just $39,000 annually mid-career, while the highest paid petroleum engineering majors, make an average of $136,000 per year. Over a career, that difference amounts to more than $3 million, according to the report The Economic Value of College Majors by economists at Georgetown University. 

Among the major fields of study, architecture and engineering students earn highest average salary--$83,000 per year, and education majors earn the lowest--$45,000 per year. 

Related: 10 Public Universities with the Worst Graduation Rates 

The study finds that generally it’s still worth it to go to college. The average bachelor’s degree holder makes $1 million more over a lifetime than a person with just a high school diploma. 

A separate report released last fall by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that the value of a bachelor’s degree has reached an all-time high of around $300,000. Researchers found that it takes about 10 years to recoup the cost of a degree, a historically low level, down from close to 25 years in the late 1970s and 1980s. 

So those education majors should still go to college, but they might be smart to look for more moderately priced options and to be more wary about taking on debt than their engineering peers.

Chart of the Day: Boosting Corporate Tax Revenues

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have all proposed increasing taxes on corporations, including raising income tax rates to levels ranging from 25% to 35%, up from the current 21% imposed by the Republican tax cuts in 2017. With Bernie Sanders leading the way at $3.9 trillion, here’s how much revenue the higher proposed corporate taxes, along with additional proposed surtaxes and reduced tax breaks, would generate over a decade, according to calculations by the right-leaning Tax Foundation, highlighted Wednesday by Bloomberg News.

Chart of the Day: Discretionary Spending Droops

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The federal government’s total non-defense discretionary spending – which covers everything from education and national parks to veterans’ medical care and low-income housing assistance – equals 3.2% of GDP in 2020, near historic lows going back to 1962, according to an analysis this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Chart of the Week: Trump Adds $4.7 Trillion in Debt

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated this week that President Trump has now signed legislation that will add a total of $4.7 trillion to the national debt between 2017 and 2029. Tax cuts and spending increases account for similar portions of the projected increase, though if the individual tax cuts in the 2017 Republican overhaul are extended beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2025, they would add another $1 trillion in debt through 2029.

Chart of the Day: The Long Decline in Interest Rates

Wall Street slips, Dow posts biggest weekly loss of 2013
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Are interest rates destined to move higher, increasing the cost of private and public debt? While many experts believe that higher rates are all but inevitable, historian Paul Schmelzing argues that today’s low-interest environment is consistent with a long-term trend stretching back 600 years.

The chart “shows a clear historical downtrend, with rates falling about 1% every 60 years to near zero today,” says Bloomberg’s Aaron Brown. “Rates do tend to revert to a mean, but that mean seems to be declining.”

Chart of the Day: Drug Price Plans Compared

By The Fiscal Times Staff

Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.