Earning a college degree usually pays off, but it's not a guarantee.
Although more educated workers usually earn plus, a good number of those who do not have a university degree gaearn more than college graduates.
About 16% of high school graduates earn more than half of workers with bachelor's degrees, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Similarly, 28% of workers with an associate's degree more than half of workers with a bachelor's degree earn. , and 36% of workers with a bachelor's degree earn more than half of workers with a master's degree.
Learn more about Personal Finance:
The "families massively underestimate the cost of university
Less "students go in college because of the cost
How to Maximize Your College Financial Aid
" More education doesn't always make you more money "said Anthony Carnevale, director of the center and author main report.
"You can get less education and earn more, it's true," he said. "You can get more education and earn less; it all depends on your field of study. "
Computer and math positions, health practice and engineering are the highest paying occupations at all levels of education, according to report. However, the wage gaps persist all levels.
In any case, men earn more than women - in general, women need one more degree to earn the same amount as their male counterparts, according to the report - and Asian and white workers earn more than allother groups.
Yet "your course of study pretty much determines your economic prospects," Carnevale said.
Leaving high school puts workers on the line. good track earn an average of $ 1.6 million over their lifetime, compared to $ 1.2 million if they had not graduated.
Those with college earn $ 1.9 million over the course of their career, and those with an associate's degree earn an average of $ 2 million over their lifetimes.
A bachelor's degree holder earns a median of $ 2.8 million, which is 75% more than if they only had a high school diploma, though, disaggregated by sex, women with a bachelor's degree have median lifetime earnings of $ 2.4 million, compared with $ 3.3 million for men.
Those with a bachelor's degree masters earn an average of $ 3.2 million over their lifetime, whilePhD graduates earn $ 4 million and professional degree holders earn $ 4.7 million.
"The safest strategy is to continue in school "said Carnevale.
At the same time, Covid and exorbitant university costs lead more students far "from a degree of four years .
Interested in alternative programs doped during " the coronavirus crisis, as did large employers, including Apple, Bank of America, Google and IBM, have " stopped demanding university degrees .
A recent surveyHigh school students found that the odds of attending a four-year-old school sank almost 20% in less than a year - up to 53%, up from 71%, according to ECMC Group , a non-profit organization dedicated to helping student borrowers.
Almost a third of high school students said the financial impact of the pandemic made it less likely that they would attend four-year college, according to the report. Students said they put more emphasis on vocational training and post-graduate employment.
More than half said they can be successful professionally with three years. or less than a college education, and only a quarter believe that a four-year degree is the only route to a good job. The ECMC group has interviewed over 1,000 high school students three times over the past year.
Subscribe "to CNBC on YouTube.