Faculty Advisor

Becker, Lee A.

Faculty Advisor

Hamel, Glynis M.


This IQP sought to explore the validity of the educators' claim that a four-year college education will bring a person more lifetime cumulative earnings than going to work in the software industry immediately after high school. After reviewing opinions of lifetime cumulative earnings and identifying inadequacies in the formulas used to calculate such results, we designed a better lifetime cumulative earnings formula. To apply this formula, we collected data on annual income for employees in the software industry, student earnings during college, student indebtedness upon graduation, family contribution to college costs and earning investment return rate. We found that only if college graduates aggressively invest their additional income will their lifetime cumulative earnings exceed those of high school graduates.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002

Project Type

Interactive Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Computer Science