Why Should I Go to College? Part One: Earn More

This is the first of three part series on the benefits of a college degree. Keep checking back for more!

For centuries education has been a privilege with numerous benefits for those who are able to obtain it. The ability to finance your education and manage your time to attend a university or college were compared for years with the numerous benefits to earning your degree. As technology brought new ways to attend school and the ability to finance your education drastically changed in recent decades, the benefits of an education still made a case for themselves. However, recent economic challenges and changes in the higher education system have some students still asking: why should I go to college? 

Part One- Earn More: Financial opportunity

Most students have heard over the years that a college education will help them find a better paying job, but with recent challenges in the economy many are left wondering if this idea still holds true today.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), education continues to play an important factor in earnings.

College graduates continue to have much higher paying jobs on average than those with a high school diploma—a reality that has only become more apparent over the years. A recent study, The Rising Cost of Not Going to College , by the Pew Research Center, found that the gap in earnings between those adults with a degree and those without has significantly grown, showing a $17,500 difference in average annual income. Not only are those less educated adults facing lower wages, according to the study, they are also facing other economic hardships. Data collected by Pew revealed poverty rates among adults with a high school diploma were 16% higher than those with a bachelor’s degree or more.

But many graduates are learning it’s not only about earning a higher income, but securing a stable income for their family when they are faced with challenges in the economy. For Information Technology student, Darren, it was the recent dip in the economy that made him realize a degree might just aid in his family’s financial future. “My children’s future was my biggest factor,” Darren said was his reason for going back to school.

Darren was aware of several individuals in his field that had lost their jobs due to company downsizing—a reality that many working adults faced over the last few years. How can education play a role in this? The BLS’s Employment Projections shows that not only are college graduates earning more than those adults with less education, but are seeing unemployment rates at much lower rates (see Infographic). “I knew I had to finish school to be competitive in the IT industry.” Darren has not only managed to stay competitive, but found a job in the process. “I had no problem getting hired here because of my education and experience.” 

Check out Part Two- Learn More: Filling the Gap

NAU
19 March, 2014