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College graduates earn $700,000 more in a lifetime than nongrads

The $700,000 decision: learn more to earn more.

That's the simple message Black Hills State University President Thomas Flickema will be spreading across the state in a new information campaign funded by BHSU alumni and scheduled to begin Nov. 15 in statewide television broadcasts.

Armed with data from the South Dakota Department of Labor, Flickema said a college degree means $700,000 to $1,000,000 more in career earnings versus a high school diploma and $200,000 to nearly $700,000 versus a two-year vocational-technical applied science degree.

Wage survey information at BHSU indicates that many BHSU graduates are earning starting salaries in a general range from $22,000 to $38,000 a year. As wages increase for experienced professionals over a 35- to 40-year work life, a sizable income differential over a non-college graduate's average salary is highly probable, said the BH president.

“We have a message for high school seniors across South Dakota,” said Flickema. “You are about to make one of the most important economic decisions of your lives. Getting a degree from one of our state's six public universities will position you to earn over $1,000,000 more lifetime career income. How many decisions will you make in your life that impact your life like this?”

The earnings advantages were calculated using figures developed independently by the South Dakota Department of Labor's Market Information Center.

The BH president said the data is particularly important to high school seniors making college decisions this month.

Flickema said, “Clearly, if you want to stay in this state and you want to earn more, you need to learn more.”

In fact current studies show 94 percent of surveyed BHSU graduates are employed in their major field of study or complementary field, with a sizable number, 67 percent, remaining in South Dakota and more than 95 percent in the five-state region. Our students are finding employment as teachers, managers, technology specialists, accountants, information specialists and government employees to name just a few, says the BH president.

The statewide public relations campaign's most visible element will be three-minute televised presentations during halftimes and between games of the fall's football and girl's basketball championships. The BH president will also utilize the television messages on video cassette before local service clubs and alumni gatherings.

“Your future is here,” says President Flickema. “You belong on one of our state's university campuses. If you want to earn more right here in South Dakota, get a degree from one of our state's six public universities.”

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