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The Payoff of Higher Education

Despite visible examples of college graduates facing difficulties in the labor market, the data are clear on the benefits of getting a college degree. Going to college increases earnings, reduces the chances of unemployment, and opens doors to many opportunities. But there is considerable variation in outcomes. It is important to understand the range of experiences, the multiple options for measuring the benefits of education, and the changes over time in the payoff of higher education.

Leading experts discussed the role of higher education in creating opportunities and the uncertainty generated by current economic conditions.


  • Michael McPherson, president, Spencer Foundation

  • Sandy Baum, senior fellow, Urban Institute and research professor of education policy, George Washington University
  • Jared Bernstein, senior fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Stephanie Cellini, associate professor of Public Policy, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University
  • Lauren Eyster, senior research associate, Urban Institute

Date & Time Monday, February 24, 2014
2100 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
, DC , 20037
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  • Nonresident Senior Fellow
  • Senior Fellow