Lars Thoughts – Is College Worth The Investment?

By Lars Larson

In January of next year, the minimum wage in Seattle hits 15 bucks.  For Portland it’s 12. That applies even to workers who didn’t finish high school.  So your folks and your teachers push you to go to college.  Does it make financial sense?

Well, the latest rankings of colleges by the Wall Street Journal out this week may make you question that.  UW makes the top 100.  Wazoo’s in the top 250.  Oregon and Oregon State fall into the 300s.  Southern Oregon and Washington state’s wacky Evergreen are in a tie for last in the bottom 200 colleges out of a thousand.

But then you get to the salary part. Four years and tens of thousands of dollars into higher ed delivers these average salaries ten years after graduation.  A degree from UW lets you beat minimum wage by more than 10 bucks an hour, for UO you get an extra 8 bucks.  But a degree from southern Oregon only gets the average worker another six bucks an hour. And the sheepskin from Evergreen only improves your average wages by a dollar an hour over the “no skills” Seattle minimum wage.

Do the math first.


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