by Amy Crocker

According to research complied by The Wall Street Journal, college degrees may not be as valuable as we thought.

The College Board had long proclaimed on its website that those with a degree earned $800,000 more over a lifetime than those without. Making an investment in education seem like a no brainer. This figure was removed from its site in December.

The long standing numbers were from a 2002 report that used 1999 census data. From this data, it was deduced that the average high-school graduate earns $25,900 a year, while the average college graduate earns $45,400. When the difference ($19,500) is multiplied by 40 years (an average work span), the result is that college graduates earn $780,000 more over a lifetime.

The validity of these figures is now being questioned, as loan costs were not factored in, nor were the varying tax rates in different brackets. Also, the 1999 data is from a time back in the stone age when yearly tuition averaged at $15,518 per year. The average today is $26,273 per year.

A new estimate from Mark Schneider, a vice president of the American Institutes for Research, is that college degree holders will only make $279,893 more than their high school pals who have been surfing this whole time. While that's still a fair amount of money, it will certainly cut down the swagger of pompous jerks this summer at reunions across the nation.