(CNN) - Student loan debt is hitting record highs but a new report is highlighting the economic benefits of a college degree.
So does a college education pay off?
The answer is yes, according to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The new data shows that four years of university study can lead to fuller pockets in the long run.
The research found the average college grad earns $78,000 a year.
That’s compared to $45,000 earned by someone with only a high school education.
That’s more than $30,000 a year.
However, the study did find one downside of going to college.
Researchers found high opportunity costs or the income a student loses out on when they step away from the workforce to attend college.
Researchers said while someone with a college degree will eventually earn a higher salary, they still lose out on four years of wages.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that adds up to an average of $120,000.
Despite all that along with rising costs of tuition and student debt, the new research found that a college degree is still a good investment with an average rate of return of 14 percent.
So, remember to think long term and see the bigger picture.
Experts say the cost of college is up front and the benefits are spread out over many years, so the economic value of a college degree is often hard to see.