Economists from the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago and Princeton University say the lifetime value of a four-year college degree, even after the cost of tuition and wages that weren't earned during the years of attendance are factored out, will equate to roughly $295,682 for the average student who entered school in 2003. The average cost of attending college for four years, currently about $107,277, is generally recouped within 10 years of graduation, the economists noted.

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