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Activity Three: Table interpretation and stay-in-school monetary value

Relate the value of education to income over time. Have students make a graph of this information. If Horace Mann had not advocated for public schools, what would be the income difference for a person without a high school education versus one with a high school education?

Using the data, what if the Morrill Acts did not pass? What would be the difference between a high school graduate's income and the income of a person with a bachelor's degree?

Finally, using the graph they made, have students figure out the average annual income for each level of education, assuming they are going to work 50 years.


Table 1
Lifetime Earnings and Earnings Payoff by Education Level
Education Level Lifetime Earnings
Less than a High School Diploma $993,466
High School Graduate $1,298,316
Some College/No Degree $1,462,379
2-Year Degree $1,527,582
4-Year Degree $2,173,417
Master's Level Degree $2,312,426
Doctorate or Professional Degree $2,907,904



More wage information:

Unemployment and earnings for full-time wage and salary workers age 25 and over, by educational attainment