Paris, June 25 - It does not always pay for students in Italy to obtain a university degree, as the wage gap has narrowed between those with higher education and those with just high school diplomas, the OECD said Tuesday. In a sweeping report on education in the industrialized world, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that Italian university graduates under age 35 earn only 22% more than those who finished only high school. The OECD average is about 40%, the Paris-based organization said in its 435-page Education at a Glance report, which compared the performances of education systems in 42 countries. The performance is better for older Italian university grads, between ages 55 and 64, who earn about 68% more than their peers who only finished high school. Such findings are likely to be discouraging for young people already struggling to find jobs that pay the bills. The study also found that education spending per student is on a downward trend in most EU countries, although it is still slightly above the OECD average. In Italy, spending per student was stagnant between 1995 and 2010 although the number of pupils per teacher increased. The OECD found that Italy is one of the few member countries that has barely increased spending per student in primary and secondary education over those 15 years. Spending grew by just 0.5% in real terms over that period, compared with an average of 60%.