Despite enrollment and completion rates declining and Americans’ confidence in higher education falling, the economic case for earning a college degree remains solid. College graduates earn about $1 million more over the course of their working years than U.S. adults with no college degree, on average.

However, a college degree has value beyond financial gain. To date, most studies that attempt to find the value of pursuing post-high school education focus on a single outcome, like earnings or cognitive ability.

The latest study from Lumina Foundation and Gallup examines a wide range of economic and non-economic outcomes for U.S. adults across various levels of educational attainment. The Education for What? report explores the association between each additional year of higher education and a variety of work and life outcomes and the extent to which Americans believe education promotes these outcomes.

The results show that additional years of education beyond high school make for a healthier, more civic-minded individual who is more likely to interact with neighbors and family members, and to do work that aligns with their natural talents and interests.

In the news:
Measuring Higher Ed’s Benefits Beyond Earnings
| Inside Higher Ed | August 30, 2023
More money and much, much more | Community College Daily | August 30, 2023
Postsecondary Education Linked to Volunteerism, Better Health | GALLUP | August 30, 2023