Despite remaining the safest road to financial prosperity, a college degree isn't earning the recently graduated quite as much these days.
The average wage for young college graduates has dropped by nearly a dollar per hour over the last decade, once accounting for inflation, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Yet despite that entry-level wage stagnation, data still finds that a college degree remains a worthy investment.
While the recession has taken its toll on graduating class, hiring for 2011 graduates is up 10 percent from last year, and unemployment rates among those with a degree remains less than half the national average. In fact, it's those with only a high school diploma that sit above the national average.
That employment gap, between college and high school graduates, has been steadily widening since 2007, the Wall Street Journal reports.
It's not just going to college that betters a student's probability of obtaining a higher wage; it's what you study once there. The starting salary for a petroleum engineer, for example, is around $97,900, The Huffington Post reports. Compare that to social work, where a just-graduated job seeker can expect a starting salary of $33,000.
Here is a graph from the Economic Policy Institute showing the drop off in average starting wages for college graduates over the last decade: