Is My Degree Worth It?

A comprehensive analysis which utilizes machine learning to estimate the value of your degree, calculating estimated earnings and projected counter-factual earnings. There are three sections to this calculation on this website and the completion of each consecutive part provides more information and analysis.

Projected Income and Debt

This first part calculates an income timeline using the median salaries of programs from the US Department of Education's College Scorecard and also references the incomes of different professions from the US Census ACS data to develop a future income timeline. It also accounts for debt taken and interest accured to estimate when one's debt will be paid off. The 3 slider values should add up to 100%

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Counter-factual Income

This optional section calculates the income you would have earned had you decided to go into a profession without a college degree. It is trained on a US Census dataset with over 3 million Americans with only high school degrees. It should be noted that there may be selection bias if you select a profession that is difficult to enter with a high school degree alone such as Engineering.

Controlling for attributes and socio-economic background.

What we want to measure is the difference in lifetime earnings between the same person if they went to college compared to if had they decided not to. However, the average person who does not go to college does not have the same attributes or situation as someone who does go to college. Students who do not go to college are more likely not to go due to poor scores, poverty and a lack of a support system. Thus it is hard to determine whether high school graduates make less because of education or whether if they were initally more disadvantaged. A prime example is that someone from a rich family with connections who decides to forgo college to try to be an independent filmmaker is much more likely to succeed than someone without those advantages, but the majority of those with only high school degrees do not have such advantages. Therefore, there must be adjustments to income projections of professions without a college degree to control for these confounding factors.

Made by Howell