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VSU Degree Leads to Higher Earnings, Changed Lives, Transformed Communities

VALDOSTA – A high school graduate who earns a bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State University will earn nearly $1.2 million more during their lifetime, bringing their average work-life earnings to $2.6 million. Advanced degrees boost those earnings even more.

According to the Lifetime Earnings for University System of Georgia Class of 2022 study conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, high school graduates who obtain a bachelor’s degree will boost their work-life earnings by 82 percent in Georgia, or 80 percent across the United States.

“All of us connected to Valdosta State have long believed in the transformative power of higher education,” shared Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU. “This study provides the clearest evidence yet that pursuing higher education is one of the best decisions any person can ever make.

“We know education opens doors, empowers families, and transforms communities. We know that because we hear those stories every day from our students and alumni. We vow to continue doing all that we can to make VSU a life-changing investment.”

In the report, Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth, noted that the most relevant measure of the economic “worth” of a college education is increased earnings over a working lifetime. His team prepared estimates of work-life earnings by level of educational attainment for Georgia and the U.S. based on median personal earned income data from the Census Bureau’s most recent five-year American Community Survey.

Humphreys explained that the increase in earnings associated with a degree varies from one person to another, over time, geographically, and by field of study. However, according to the report, it is possible to provide a rough approximation of the aggregate benefits to VSU’s Class of 2022 graduates, as well as benefits accruing to the average degree holder.

These estimates are important, he added, because they show to what extent higher education pays off, which may motivate students, employers, workers, and policymakers to pursue and support postsecondary education.

Visit to read the full 17-page report.

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