At the most expensive colleges and universities, a four-year degree can be a $150,000 investment in the future. Is it worth it?
On a purely material level, a new Web site can help answer that. At www.educationpays.org, you'll find median salaries for 106 occupations - from accountant to veterinarian - broken down by educational level.
Always wanted to be a firefighter? The median salary for that job is about $42,000 for those with a high school diploma. But getting a college degree boosts median pay by 12 grand a year.
The Web site is run by the Employment Policy Foundation, which calculates that a college degree is worth, on average, an extra $875,000 in lifetime earnings. For students who need a more concrete example of the value of education, the Web site will convert the extra annual pay into the number of compact discs or movie tickets the salary boost would buy.