you recently graduated from college — or forked over thousands for one of your children to do so — you're well aware of the cost-inflation taking place in higher education. The College Board estimates that the average cost of tuition, room, and board at a public school has increased almost 140% since 1974, after taking inflation into account.

That's a massive increase, and it rightly causes many students and parents to wonder whether or not pursuing higher education is worth the investment. But after crunching the numbers from the latest Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the verdict is clear: Education beyond high school is clearly worth the investment.

The figures below represent household income before taxes and the highest level of education that someone in the household has attained determines classification.

So, the DQ for the week is: What would you tell someone, perhaps someone in your family or a close friend about going to college?

Less than High School = $28,000

High School Graduate = $40,000

Some College = $48,000

Associate Degree = $61,000

BachelorAc€?cs Degree = $85,000

MasterAc€?cs/PhD/Professional = $124,000

Source: Bureau of Labor StatisticAc€?cs Consumer Expenditure Survey. All figures rounded to the nearest $1,000.

Of course, there are caveats to the data above. For instance, the income of each group represents the mean, or average. That means that those who are high earners — think CEOs — disproportionately bring the average up. Those who are older do the same thing, as they are further along their career earnings arc.

Consequently, the recent graduate with their bachelor's degree is unlikely to be earning the average household income of $85,000. In fact, a recent study by National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the average starting salary for a graduate of the class of 2014 was $45,000.

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