The variables used in our online calculator are defined in detail below, including how to interpret the results.

Current Age (Years)

This is your current age, which will be used along with your anticipated retirement age to compute the number of years that you will be employed.

Retirement Age (Years)

This is your anticipated retirement age, which will be used along with your current age to compute the number of years that you will be employed.

Current Cost of College (€ / Year)

This is the current cost to attend college for one year.

College Attendance (Years)

This is the number of years spent attending college. This value will be used to compute the total cost of a college education.

Salary After College (€ / Year)

This is the anticipated salary after attending college.

Salary After High School (€ / Year)

This is the anticipated salary for individuals with a High School diploma.

Total Cost of College (€)

This is the total cost of a college education, which was found by multiplying the current cost of college by the college attendance value.

Final Pay - College / High School (€ / Year)

These two values demonstrate the difference in the final pay for individuals with a college degree versus a high school diploma.

Total Earnings - College / High School (€)

This series of numbers is the calculated earnings for individuals with a college education versus a high school diploma. The total earnings values are found by multiplying the salary after college (or high school), by the number of years spent working until retirement.

Present Value of Earnings (€)

This series of numbers converts all future earning Euros into today's Euros. This step takes the nominal Euros calculated in the previous step and converts them to real Euros.

Present Value of College Costs (€)

Once again, the nominal cost of college is converted back to real Euros. These last two steps allow for a direct comparison of the financial costs and benefits of a college education, because all future Euros have been converted into today's value.

Value of College Education (€)

This is the calculated value of a college education. In this last step, the present value of college costs is subtracted from the present value of all earnings. The value of a college degree as calculated here is once again stated in terms of real Euros.