UW-Whitewater: New study shows value of UW-Whitewater degree

Contact: Russ Kashian

(262) 472-5584


WHITEWATER ­ A degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater not only provides graduates with the tools for a successful career, but it also greatly increases their ability to earn a good income over the course of their lifetime.

A new study by the Fiscal and Economic Research Center at UW-Whitewater found a college graduate earns more than someone who enters the workforce with only a high school diploma. The average annual income of UW-Whitewater alumni is $73,000, while the average annual income of high school graduates is $38,350.

“This continues to show that the path to higher income is through education and training,” said Russ Kashian, interim director of the center and an associate professor of economics. “As time goes on, it is more and more important to focus on the development of human capital to provide employment and earnings opportunities.”

According to Kashian, the increased income after four years of college allows graduates to quickly recover the cost of tuition and income lost while attending UW-Whitewater. Today’s graduates are able to recover the cost of a college education in six-and-a-half years compared to the 12 years it took college graduates from 30 years ago.

“While students have witnessed dramatic increases in tuition over the past 30 years, they have also seen two other effects,” Kashian said. “These are: rising income for college graduates and falling (or stagnant) wages for high school graduates.”

The study also showed that a UW-Whitewater degree not only benefits the graduate, but it also benefits the state’s economy. College graduates earn higher incomes and therefore, pay higher state income taxes, Kashian said. In 2008, UW-Whitewater graduates earned more than $3.5 billion and paid the state more than $102.7 million in income taxes, which is $65.3 million more than they would have paid without a college degree. The additional revenue exceeds the state’s support of UW-Whitewater by approximately $30 million.

“It’s important for us to view the state’s financial commitment to the university as an investment rather than an expense,” Kashian said. In 2008, the state invested $35 million in UW-Whitewater. “This study shows how the investment pays off in dividends.”

Other key findings included:

·UW-Whitewater graduates earn $35,000 in initial income after college compared to high school graduates who will earn less than $31,000 their first year;

·UW-Whitewater alumni continue to see an increase in income through age 58;

·1980 graduates have earned a little less than $1.8 million per person since graduation.

Nearly 19,000 UW-Whitewater graduates were surveyed via e-mail from a list from UW-Whitewater’s Alumni Association. Responses were received from 2,201 individuals.

The complete study is available online: http://www.uww.edu/valueofdegree.pdf <http://www.uww.edu/valueofdegree.pdf> .

For more information, contact Kashian at 262-472-5584 or kashianr@uww.edu