Back to school - What's that university degree worth?

OTTAWA, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - As more than one million university students head back to school this fall, parents across the country may be wondering about the value of a university degree.

What's a university degree really worth? More than you think, according to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada - and the payback is greater than just money.

A university graduate will earn $1.3 million more over his or her lifetime than someone who has not gone beyond high school. University graduates earn $1 million more than community college graduates, says AUCC, the group that represents Canada's 95 universities and university degree-level colleges.

Not only do university graduates earn more money, they also have fewer periods of unemployment, and tend to live healthier lives. The association backs up these points using data from Statistics Canada in a fact-filled brochure, the first in a series being released this fall to demonstrate the contributions of university graduates to the economy.

University graduates are innovative thinkers with strong problem-solving skills - valuable traits in today's quickly changing employment market. A university degree proved even more useful during the recent economic downturn. AUCC points out that, during one of the deepest recessions in 70 years, there were 150,000 net new jobs for university graduates from September 2008 to March 2010, compared to 684,000 fewer jobs for those without a degree during that same period.

"University graduates enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary to adjust more easily to shifts in the employment market," AUCC president Paul Davidson says. "They find jobs quickly - and they find good jobs, that are interesting and pay well." University graduates also contribute more to Canada's economy and communities than do those without the benefit of higher education. They are more likely to vote and volunteer, and rely less on government benefits than those without a degree.

AUCC released this new data on the value of a university degree to emphasize the benefits of investing in higher education, especially as Canada's shifting demographics call for an increasingly flexible, adaptable and productive workforce. Additional data will be released throughout the fall, leading to the release of a major publication in January 2011.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is the voice of Canada's universities. AUCC represents 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges.

For a copy of the brochure, visit www.aucc.ca/value-of-a-degree.

SOURCE Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

For further information: For further information:

Lyse Huot
Director, Government Relations and Communications
AUCC
(613) 563-3961 ext. 229
lhuot@aucc.ca

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Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

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