It’s Like Being Paid To Go To School

Jeanette A. Tucker, Claesgens, Mark A.  |  7/20/2007 12:29:34 AM

2007 Back-to-School News (Distributed 07/12/07)

Education is valuable throughout your life, and the achievements you make today can determine the salaries you earn over a lifetime.

"Most students have never thought about how much they earn by attending class each day," said LSU AgCenter family economist Dr. Jeanette Tucker. "But the value of each hour’s education can be astounding for those who complete their high school and college educations."

Students might be more likely to think about the value of education if they saw advertisements with a catchy theme like, "Earn $88 per hour while attending high school."

"That’s the kind of difference an education can make for you over a lifetime," Tucker said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, based on 40-year work life, a person with less than a ninth grade education has an average lifetime earnings of $787,400. That lifetime total increases to $1,167,480 for a high school graduate.

To determine the value of a day’s education, Tucker lists these steps:

1. Calculate the difference between the earnings of a high school graduate and one with no high school diploma ($380,080).

2. Divide the extra earnings by the number of years attending high school. This is one’s total earnings per year of high school ($95,020).

3. Divide this number by the average number of school days in a school year (typically 180 days = $527.89 per day).

4. Divide this number by the average number of hours spent in class each day (generally six). This yields student earnings per hour in class while attending high school or college.

Using these calculations, high school students earn $87.98 per hour while attending class. Of course, the key to earning at these levels is to be sure to complete the degree.

Businesses offering these salaries would have no trouble attracting enthusiastic employees. Students face the challenge of obtaining their degrees so they can achieve these earnings.

For more information on family finances and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.


On the Internet: LSU AgCenter:
Contact: Jeanette Tucker (225) 578-5398 or
Editor: Mark Claesgens (225) 578-2939 or

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