"Adults ages 25 to 64 who worked at any time during the study period earned an average of $34,700 per year. Average earnings ranged from $18,900 for high school dropouts to $25,900 for high school graduates, $45,400 for college graduates"
I've bolded the relevant text. Everybody in that survey has a job, which, incidentally, is a thing that your college degree absolutely does not guarantee you. All the unemployed people, their college degrees doing nothing for them? They don't factor in. But hey, maybe the situation will be better when you're out of college. Things might pick up. You just need to get more loans for now, to get you through, is all. And that's exactly what's happening, according to Robert Shireman,
So, the reason you're collecting federal debt like soul-sucking Pokemon is because the working world is rough right now. Your parents, like most people, are in a tough financial spot, and they can't afford to send you to school. Since you can't find a job to support yourself either, you just need to borrow more, assuming you're going to make it back in the future, when you get out of college and into that thriving working worl- aw, shit.
Soon the old brag "first in the family to go to college" will be "first in the family to be debt free after high school."
But, hey, you're young and full of foolish hope: Let's assume the optimistic scenario -- that you get out of college without owing an unreasonable amount, after which you're immediately and miraculously employed, and you make that nice, round, one million dollars more per lifetime. Awesome, right?
But what if it wasn't a million dollars? What if that amount starts dropping? How low does that number have to go until it's no longer worth it? 750K? Half a million? The real figure, when all is said and done, is