Student loan debt is soaring in the United States, overtaking both auto loans and credit card debt in recent years to become the second largest form of consumer debt, after only home mortgages. Americans have a cumulative total of $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loans.
This record high debt is due in part to climbing tuition costs. The annual cost of attending a four-year private institution in the United States reached $48,510 in 2018, more than double what it was less than two decades earlier. This is how much it cost to attend college the year you were born.
In light of the increasing cost of a four-year education, it is more important than ever for the college-bound to consider the kinds of careers their degrees may lead to, and how much they can expect to earn. Using average annual earnings data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified the college majors that will pay off the most.
The majors on this list tend to be in mathematics, engineering, or the hard sciences. It is important to note that many of the high-paying careers these subjects often lead to may also require additional education beyond a bachelor’s degree, particularly for careers in medicine or engineering.
Of course, the subject one chooses to focus on in college is only one factor that can have an impact on earning potential later in life. Another is the reputation of the school and the quality of its education. Some of the most well-regarded schools in the country, like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford also have the highest earning graduates. Schools like these tend to be highly selective in their admission process, however. Here is a list of the hardest colleges to get into.