How much is a diploma worth in cold hard cash? A college master's degree is worth $1.3 million more in lifetime earnings than a high school diploma, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The report titled "The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings" (.pdf) reveals that over your working life, high school graduates can expect, on average, to earn $1.2 million; those with a bachelor's degree, $2.1 million; and people with a master's degree, $2.5 million.
Women who graduated from college earned about 76 percent more than women with only a high school diploma in 2004, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The educational earnings gap has widened sharply since 1979, when female college graduates earned only 43 percent more than female high school graduates.
Women workers without a high school diploma who worked full-time in 2004 had median usual weekly earnings of $334. Those with a high school diploma and no college earned $488; those with some college but no degree earned $553 and those with an associate degree earned $608.
Full-time women workers who held a bachelor's degree in 2004 had median usual weekly earnings of $792. Master's degree holders had earnings of $957, while the figure for professional degree holders was $1,055 and for doctoral degree holders was $1,188. (Bureau of Labor Statistics).