The graduating class of 2014-15 was the largest ever for USHE colleges and universities. According to newly reported figures, USHE awarded 32,797 degrees and certificates during the 2014-15 academic year.
Increased earnings for 2014-15 graduates
According to the U.S. Census, the wage premium that results from increased educational attainment continues to grow. For example, students receiving a bachelor’s degree will earn 55 percent more their first year out of college than someone with only a high school diploma. In Utah, USHE institutions awarded over 16,000 bachelor’s degrees. Using U.S. Census information, it is estimated 83.3 percent of those recipients, 13,338 individuals, will enter the workforce – resulting in a total wage increase of $218,249, 694 among USHE graduates earning a bachelor’s degree.
Growing Utah’s tax base
According to the Utah Taxpayers’ Association, Utahns pay an average 12.71 percent in state tax contributions. 2014-15 graduates will generate an estimated $47 million in additional revenues to the state this year – approximately half of this year’s current estimated budget surplus. 93 percent of those increased revenues will come from those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
With increased wages, comes increased spending and saving capacity in Utah’s economy that will generate an additional $26 billion in the state’s economy. Increasing college attainment is not only the clear path for individual Utahns, but it is the best policy investment to ensure ongoing funding for other state burdens in areas such as transportation, healthcare, and air quality.