我们如何使统计资料和具体案例保持一致呢？纽约联邦储备银行（Federal Reserve Bank of New York）提供的图表说明，如果我们只着眼于平均情况，就会错失很多信息：
If you listen to the experts, they’ll tell you that, despite the rising cost of a degree, college still pays off.
And the statistics bear this argument out. A college graduate will on average make $1 million more than a worker with just a high school degree over the course of his lifetime, making even a six-figure upfront investment well worth it in the end. Yetanecdotal evidence abounds of students who either flunked out of college or graduated with large debt loads and are still unable to land jobs that will make the investment in a degree pay off.
How do we reconcile the statistics with these stories? This chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that we can miss a lot when looking at just the average experience:
The bottom quarter of earners with a college degree don’t make more money than the average high school graduate. And this hasn’t really changed much in 40 years. In fact, this graphic shows that a college degree has become more valuable even for the bottom quarter of earners, likely as a result of the evaporation of high-paying blue collar jobs, like those in the manufacturing industries. Of course, over the past 40 years, the cost of a degreehas increased 12-fold, while a degree holder isn’t making more money at all, when accounting for inflation.