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Most Americans Don’t Think Higher Education Is Worth the Cost — But This State-By-State Breakdown of College Graduates’ Salaries Tells a Different Story More than half of people in the U.S. say that higher education isn’t affordable.



A majority of Americans don’t believe that a college degree is worth the price tag, according to a poll from The Wall Street Journal and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). That’s perhaps not surprising given that student loan borrowers in the U.S. owe a collective $1.74 trillion in federal and private student loan debt, per NerdWallet, and that since the late 1970s, inflation-adjusted pay for most U.S. workers has largely stagnated, according to the American Bar Association.

Still, roughly 70% of Americans remain convinced that having a college degree does lead to higher-paying jobs, even as more than half of them contend that earning that diploma isn’t affordable, Inside Higher Ed reported. College degrees often do translate to higher salaries, though, of course, exceptions abound, and new research from career platform proves that out, along with just how much the earnings disparity between college graduates and non-college graduates varies depending on state.

Related: Do Children Need to Go Out of State for the Real College Experience?

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