A curious thing has been taking place on the blogs and in magazines in the past year or so.
There has been an ongoing debate about whether college is “worth it” anymore, due to major economic concerns including high unemployment, stagnant wages, and student loan debt.
While these are all very real problems that current government policies aren’t dealing with in a satisfactory manner, the research is clear. It is still absolutely worth it to earn a college degree.
Let’s face it. “Time is money” is an overused cliché because it’s true, really. Two to four years is a significant commitment, not to mention how much of an investment tuition payments are. This article by Megan McArdle in Newsweek is a good summary of the argument against more people choosing to go to college.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with that side of the argument, it’s time to list a couple of ways why it is wrong and why college actually is an excellent investment. Whether you choose to attend your local public university, a college like National American University that has multiple locations across the country, or you “attend” online courses from the comfort of your own home, you’ll benefit in a number of ways.
College graduates earn more over the course of their livesStudies show that the higher your education level, the more money you’ll earn in your lifetime. If you want to pull in about $3.3 million (on average) over the course of your working life, your best bet is to earn a doctoral degree. However, if you’re like the large majority of the population, that kind of dedication isn’t of interest to you. You’re still in luck though. Bachelor’s degree holders make 84% more than high school graduates over the course of their careers. While you may have to take out loans, the potential to nearly double your lifetime income is well worth it.
College Graduates Have Lower Rates of Unemployment
The national unemployment rate (currently around 7.6%) is still disturbingly high. But, guess what? The unemployment rate amongst bachelor’s degrees holders is a much lower 3.7%. There are many things at play here when it comes to these numbers. One must consider the disparity between degree holders and non-degree holders. People with only a high school diploma currently have an unemployment rate around 8% (higher than the national average), while those who received an associate’s or attended some college and dropped out have an unemployment rate of 7%. Attending at least some college puts you in a bracket with unemployment lower than the national average. You’ll also develop skills that will help you stay employed through economic downturns in the future.
Yes, college requires both time and money. But the data is clear. Going to college is an investment that pays back dividends for the rest of your life. If you’re smart about the college you attend, you won’t pay the exorbitant tuitions that some colleges have and loans will make it more manageable. Visit National American University to learn more about colleges in your area and to see what online degrees are available.
About the Author:Tim Hartford blogs about education and public policy. When he’s not concerning himself with the day’s big issues, you can find him mountain biking or surfing.