During the virtual annual meeting of the Allied Social Sciences Association, Yaya Sissoko presented a paper, titled "Is Your Education Worth it? A Benefit-Cost Analysis" (co-authored with Brian Sloboda), at the the Committee on Economic Education Poster Session, January 3-5, 2021.


The aim of this individual assignment measures the benefit-cost of a student's higher education for their undergraduate education. Putting aside the numerous intangible benefits of acquiring a college education, this assignment addresses the question from a purely economic perspective. Is going to a four-year college a good investment?

To answer this question, students will apply a benefit-cost analysis, which is a systematic analysis of the relationship between costs and outcomes for a student's educational program. That is, students will collect cost information and making careful assumptions about their future earnings. Future earning potential is a common outcome measure for BCAs in education. For making fair cost comparisons, it is important to ensure costs and benefits are adjusted for inflation and for time preference; i.e., discounting, especially because the benefits occur in the future.

The learning objectives are:

  • Learn the general factors that contribute to the benefits and costs of a student's education;
  • Identify the components of benefit-cost analysis and carefully assess the data needed to analyze their education;
  • Develop assumptions for their future career earnings via valid resources and to justify their assumptions;
  • Improve their EXCEL skills for data analysis;
  • Improve written communication skills to summarize and explain their results;
  • Improved learning of application of real-life examples from economics.

Department of Economics