Publication details

Is Tertiary Education Worth It?



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference INTED2021 Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Keywords tertiary education; opportunity costs; mean income
Description Nowadays, education is considered an important part of individual personal development with high potential for society as well. Many people are encouraged to study and improve their skills and abilities. For a lot of them the tertiary education is an imaginary goal to be attained. It represents an opportunity to become one of the elite of the nation, to achieve a higher social status, self-satisfaction or to fulfil oneself. The aim of the article, however, is to find out whether tertiary education will also pay off from an economic point of view. Attained tertiary education (ISCED 5-8), especially in its full-time form, could generally be associated with limited employment possibilities on labour market, and thus with the loss of potential income of an employee with secondary education (ISCED 3-4) during the period of studies. This loss of potential income represents opportunity cost from economic point of view. On the other hand, with an increased qualification higher income is associated. In connection with the abovementioned approach and according to Eurostat data about mean and median income by educational attainment level (EU-SILC survey), the return on tertiary education for Member States of the European Union are assessed through payback period and rate of return. The results suggest that for many Member States tertiary education pays off, but there are also Member States where the economic benefits of the tertiary education, assessed according to this approach, is doubtful.

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