Joyce English was about to start studying toward an associate degree she hoped would lead to a job as a consultant to healthcare companies around Tacoma, Wash., where she lives, says the Hechinger Report. Then she discovered a database created by the state’s workforce training agency estimating what she’d earn with that degree versus how much she could make in other jobs with other majors and degrees from colleges and universities across the state. They paid more, she found.

“You obviously want something out of your education,” says English, who changed her mind and is now majoring in what she...

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