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The value of education

The value of education

Posted on: 7/18/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

According to Benjamin Franklin, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” From an enriched life to winning Jeopardy, that interest can take many forms. One way to test Franklin’s claim is to look at income by education level. And sure enough, Albertans with a university degree have the highest incomes (on average) while those with less than high school have the lowest (see this edition of Perch for more on income and education).

Average income is one thing, but we wanted to know how Albertans perceive the value of going to university versus pursuing a non-university post-secondary education such as going to college or learning a trade. So we asked. We surveyed a sample of ATB’s over 750,000 customers. (It’s not a perfect proxy, but ATB customers likely provide a good indication of how Albertans, in general, would respond.)

The results show that both educational paths are seen by most survey respondents to be worth the money. About 66 per cent of respondents gave a university degree a six or higher out of 10 (where 10 equals “worth every penny in today’s job market” and zero equals “not worth the money in today’s job market”) while 94 per cent gave non-university post-secondary programs a six or higher.

The higher numbers for college and apprenticeship programs may be because respondents see a more direct path between these programs and a job than they do for university degrees. The higher cost and greater time commitment associated with a university program may also help explain the gap.

The Value of Education​​​​

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