This is the basic state of the chart. The earnings of a median high school graduate are shown in orange, against, in pink, the earnings of a median college graduate.
It’s common knowledge that people who go to college usually end up making significantly more money those who don’t. But people who go to college also end up spending huge sums of money — quite possibly north of $100,000 — at a time when they could otherwise be out in the marketplace, earning a respectable income.
The high school grad, straight out of school, is earning $25,252 per year, while the college student is just getting started on writing tuition checks. By year 4, the high school grad has earned $115,046, and has an annual income of $31,155, while the college student is $95,000 underwater. That’s a difference of $210,000.