(WDTN/WMUR/CNN) – As student loan debt is hitting record highs, a new report is highlighting the economic benefits of a college degree.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, new data shows that a college degree can lead to fuller pockets in the long run.
The research found that the average college graduate earns $78,000 a year, compared to $45,000 earned by someone with only a high school education.
However, the study did find one downside of going to college: high opportunity cost, or the income a student loses out on when they step away from the workforce to attend college.
Researchers say that while someone with a college degree will eventually earn a higher salary, they still lose out on four years worth of wages.
The New York Federal Reserve found that adds up to an average of $120,000.
Despite the downside and the rising costs of tuition and student debt, the new research found that a college degree is still a good investment with an average rate of reutn of 14 percent.
Experts say the cost of college is up front and the benefits are spread out over many years, so the economic value of a college degree is often hard to see.