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Why Going to College is (Still) Worth It

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Earning a postsecondary degree is an investment in your future. Many students throughout the country are wondering if pursuing a postsecondary degree or going to college is still worth it. They are exploring different degree paths available, weighing the costs of college compared to entering the job market, or wondering what changes COVID-19 might bring to their college campus. 

Even now, perhaps especially now, investing your energy, time, and money in earning a degree is a worthy endeavor. But don’t just take our word for it. Explore these findings to learn more about the value of a postsecondary degree.

Education continues to shape my life in various ways. The outcomes of pursuing higher education impact me on a daily basis. This is why I value my education and believe it’s a very important goal to pursue.

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. 

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The median earnings for Bachelor’s degree recipients with no advanced degree working full-time was $24,900 more than high school graduates.

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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.

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 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.

"It is okay to start your journey at a community college. Community colleges are cheap, convenient, and offer more/if not better student aid in terms of transportation, child care, and student life."

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By 2030, 60 percent or more of all new jobs will require some level of higher education. Today, only 42 percent of young Texans between the ages of 25 and 34 have an associate degree or higher.

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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.
From the time I could walk and talk, my parents have encouraged me to accomplish the one thing that can excel me through life and gain through hard work is knowledge. They constantly reminded me that my only inheritance will be my college education; that my degree would be my “machete” allowing me to one day I would use my degree to provide for my family and be someone in the world.

Take Action

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 post secondary degree, we are here to help! Here are four easy activities to get you started and help you find a degree and career that will help you chart your path to success.

Step 1: Explore your Interests

Complete the Interest Profiler from My Next Move to learn more about career paths that might interest you. 

Step 2: Browse the Job Market

Use Indeed to search for similar jobs, and learn more about what level of education real companies require.

Step 3: Get a Reality Check

If you are still wondering if you will need a postsecondary degree to attain the salary that will fund your dream lifestyle, check out Texas Reality Check.

Step 4: Connect

Share what you found with your CoFo Coach!   

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