According to a study from the Brookings Institution, middle and upper class students gain more of an economic bump from earning college degrees than do those born into working class families and communities.
Here’s Brookings’ interpretation of the graph:
As the chart shows, this earnings gap between poor and non-poor college graduates also widens as time passes. Bachelor’s degree holders from low-income backgrounds start their careers earning about two-thirds as much as those from higher-income backgrounds, but this ratio declines to one-half by mid-career. For individuals without a post-secondary credential, the pattern is less marked. Those from low-income backgrounds initially earn 80 percent as much as those from a higher-income background, dropping to 70 percent by mid-career.
When you click on the article, “A College Degree Is Worth Less If You Are Raised Poor,” you might want to also read through the comments. Many working class commenters confirm Brookings’ conclusions — while offering further elaboration.