Date of Award

Spring 2018


Capstone - Open Access


Sociology, Minors in Human Resource Management & Women's and Gender Studies

First Advisor

Michael DeCesare


In a capitalistic society, Americans are socialized to value the earning of money more than anything. Americans are told that the best way to make this money is to go to college and further their education. Yet, millionaires such as Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey never bothered to earn a college degree. This begs one to question if education is the only factor in earning a sizable income. If not the only factor, is it the most important?

When addressing the question of if education is the only factor, the wage gap supplies a partial answer. We know that because the wage gap exists between those with the same level of education, there are other elements to consider when looking at income earnings. Social and income inequality go hand-in-hand as contemporary research has shown gender and race can influence one’s salary as well. Although the wage gap is denied by some Americans, one cannot deny that prejudice is alive and well in the economy. This research seeks to answer the question: What contributes to an American’s income? Does education level truly affect their income or are there more prominent factors?