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College Education ‘Opportunity Cost’ Depends on Where You Live

  • Bachelor degrees are especially lucrative in coastal hubs
  • Break-even time rose to 5.7 years in 2017 versus 5.2 in 2014
Students graduate in California

Students graduate in California

Photographer: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The Grammy Award-winning song from the 1960s “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” may be more relevant today than ever -- at least for university graduates seeking to maximize their investment in education.

San Jose, California, is where graduates with bachelor degrees have the highest premium compared to those who maxed out with a high school diploma, according to a Bloomberg gauge that tracks “upward mobility” in nearly 400 U.S. metropolitan areas.