It’s also important to remember that investing in college, like investing in a house or a business, is a long-term prospect. As Figure 2 shows, new college graduates start out earning just a little more ($5,000 to $6,000) than high school graduates. Over time, this earnings gap grows markedly, so that after 15 years it’s over $25,000 per year. This means that comparing the current salaries of recent college graduates with those of people who started working right after high school won’t tell you that much about the future. Things will look much different 10, 20, and 30 years from now when the college investment has had enough time to pay dividends. Whether you launch a career in a boom or a recession, a college degree is an asset that becomes more valuable over the course of your work life.