The Diminishing Returns of a College Education on Wealth Generation for African Americans

A new study by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds that the benefits of a college education as it relates to wealth are far less than has been the case in the past. This is particularly true for African American college graduates, many of whom have their wealth sapped by the burden of having to pay off student loans.

Make no mistake: People of all races who are college educated earn more and generate more wealth than their peers who did not go to college. However, over time, this advantage has shrunk dramatically, particularly for African Americans.

The study found that White college graduates born in the 1930s were worth 247 percent more than their non-college-educated peers. But White people born in the 1980s were worth just 42 percent more. For Black families where the head of household was a college graduate in the 1930s, their wealth exceeded their non-college-educated peers by 500 percent. For Black families born in the 1970s and 1980s, the wealth premium for college graduates compared to their non-college-educated peers did not exist.

The full study, “Is College Still Worth It? The New Calculus of Falling Returns,” may be downloaded by clicking here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs