Pursuing education beyond high school is an investment in your future. Many students throughout the country wonder if college is worth it. They are exploring the many different paths available, weighing the costs of college compared to entering the job market, or wondering what changes COVID-19 might bring. Even now, perhaps especially now, investing your energy, time, and money in earning a degree or certification is a worthy endeavor. But don’t just take our word for it. Explore these findings to learn more about the value of education and training beyond high school.
Higher Education Pays
In Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society, College Board researchers document the significant benefits of pursuing a postsecondary degree, both for individual students and their communities.
We use the term “postsecondary” as an umbrella term to refer to any education or training beyond a high school diploma. Postsecondary education includes certificate programs, technical colleges, two-year community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities.
The median earnings for Bachelor’s degree recipients with no advanced degree working full-time was $24,900 more than high school graduates.
Workers whose highest educational attainment was a bachelor’s degree were over five times more likely to earn $100,000 or more by age 35 in 2018 compared to high school graduates. This earning potential increases to over eight times for advanced degree holders of the same age.
Over the course of a lifetime, and accounting for the cost of obtaining a degree, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn about $400,000 more than individuals with a high school degree.
Researchers also found that for all household types, the poverty rate falls as the level of education increases. The 2018 poverty rate for individuals with an associate degree was 7%, compared with 13% for high school graduates with no college experience. But the benefits of a postsecondary degree don’t stop there. The unemployment rate for individuals age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree has consistently been half that of those with only a high school diploma. Lastly, among both full-time and part-time workers, those with higher levels of educational attainment are more likely than others to be covered by employer-provided health insurance.
After the recession in 2008, ninety-nine percent of the ll.6 million new jobs went to workers who had some form of higher education. The U.S. job market changed during the recession in 2008.
This research proves that earning a degree beyond a high school diploma is a sound financial investment in your future. Individuals who earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can expect to earn higher salaries than their peers with high school diplomas. Postsecondary degree holders also enjoy higher rates of employment and health insurance coverage.
In addition, the value of earning a postsecondary degree encompases much more than finances, employment, and health.
- College is a place to explore your full potential. Take classes on a variety of new topics, or take a deep dive into your favorite subjects. Experience clubs, organizations, communities, and sports that you may not have an opportunity to participate in otherwise.
- College is challenging, but because of that, we experience growth. Earning a degree is difficult; it is a multi-year journey that can be full of successes and failures, but it’s difficulty is what allows for growth.
- Be inspired. During your college journey you will likely meet people from a myriad of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, each with a unique story. You can discover new passions, interests or ways of experiencing your world.
- College is very different from your education so far. Many students find that their studies in college are more focused on their passions, directly applicable to the workplace, and allow for more flexibility and independence. Comparing your experience in high school to what you expect from college, or a certificate program isn’t always an accurate comparison.
- Earning a postsecondary degree is also an investment in your family. Once one family member knows how to navigate the world of higher education, they can share that knowledge with other family members. College graduates are also more likely to have children who also graduate from college and attain higher salary careers.
We hope by now you are starting to see why going to college is still worth it. If you are ready to explore your path to a postsecondary degree, we are here to help!
Now that you can explain the value of a postsecondary degree, let’s take a look at why it is important to demonstrate college readiness prior to enrollment.