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Autor: anton 31 March 2011
Words: 2505 | Pages: 11
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Value of a College Education
In today's society, the value of an education has taken on a whole new meaning. There have been many studies done on the subject and in each such study, the good far outweigh the bad when it comes to furthering ones education. The nation has gone to one of farming and agriculture, to the industrial revolution. Now, in the twenty-first century, the ever-changing computer technology industry dominates the workplace. In order to keep up with this technology, the need to further ones education is in a much higher demand. Employer's have gone from," what have you done in past," to," what have you done for me lately." A paper education can almost assure someone of making more money in their lifetime than that of their peers whom do not seek out education beyond high school. The adventure of earning a college degree can not only mean earning more money in ones lifetime, but also living a more meaningful, and usually, healthier life..
Growing up, most young people have dreams of graduating from high school, going to college, getting married and living a long happy life. The reality of this is that while ninety percent of young people graduate from high school, only sixty percent go on to college (U.S Census Bureau, July 2002). From those that attend college after high school, only a percentage of those actually attain a degree. Some say that money is the root of happiness, while others will argue that love is all it takes. Well, love never paid the bills. The benefits of earning a college degree go well beyond just the simple fact that more money will be earned in a lifetime. When someone earns more money, they are able to provide a better quality of life for their family. With the divorce rate of 3.8 per 1000 in population in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, July 2002), money is one thing that should not get in the way of living a meaningful happy life with loved ones. Think about this. If a person has a job where they can work fewer hours, and make the same, and in most cases more money at a particular job, they are going to be able to spend more time with their family. By spending more time with their family, the children are going to be better nurtured and cared for.
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Being allowed more time away from work also allows for more leisure time to pursue other activities which can make life much more meaningful. It is not to say that earning a college education is the only way to have a happy life, or make more money in the long run. There are plenty of other ways to go about attaining the American dream, but one sure way of assuring that there will be more opportunities to earn money is to go to college and get a degree.
While living a more meaningful life is one of the top three reasons to attend college and earn a degree, making more money in the long run is the number one reason young, and not so young adults, make the decision to go to college. According to information released from the United States Census Bureau, people with a college education earned on average about $51,000 a year, while their high school graduate counterparts only averaged $28,000 per year(U.S. Census Bureau, July 2002). Going back to the Economic Report of the President in 1996, males twenty-five or older with a college degree earned about eighty-nine percent more than those with just a high school diploma(Economic Report, 1996). Quite similarly, women who earned a degree earned seventy-four percent more than those that did not(Economic Report, 1996). According to 2000 census data, the average earnings of an individual with a bachelor's degree was between seventy-four to eighty-seven percent higher than that of high school graduates(U.S. Census Bureau). Over the span of a career, those who earn a bachelor's degree have the potential to earn more than one million dollars more than those with only a high school diploma(ASU Study, Oct. 2005). Imagine what that high school graduate could do with a million in extra earnings. A million dollars could pay for their childrens' college education. It could also mean an extra ten to twenty thousand per year, on average, on top of what they would make without the degree. It only makes sense to put forth the effort, and have the will-power to succeed. One person's idea of succeeding, however, may be different than that of another. Simply attending college for four years, where not only an individual can gain more knowledge to help them succeed in the workforce, but also be able to surround
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themselves with individuals who are striving to better themselves in the same way(ASU Study, Oct. 2005). Surrounding oneself with educated and determined people can do nothing but help them to achieve their lifelong goals. It is understandable if one simply can not afford to attend college. That is where parenting sort of takes a snowball effect. Those that can afford college should attend college so that they can afford to send their children to college. The snowball grows from there, because then their children will be able to attend college because their parents had the income, due to their college education, to afford to send them to college. Those that do not attend college when nothing is holding them back financially, are only hurting their childrens' chances at living a long prosperous life. This does not mean that their children will not be able to attend college simply because their parents did not, but the chances are definitely decreased significantly. For those individuals that earn a bachelors degree or higher, average annual earnings increase substantially each year, as opposed to those with merely a high school diploma whose earnings may only increase slightly from year to year. Some argue that simply attending college has no connection to earning more money. The correlation, they believe, is simply that those who do attend college tend to be more motivated and talented. Therefore they have the willingness and need to succeed. Taking this into consideration, most employer's tend to pay their employee's more based purely on the assumption that a higher degree means higher ability. When in reality, those two aren't necessarily related(Economic Value, July 1999). As you can see, individuals that have a college degree tend to make more money, whether it be because they actually have more ability due to their higher education, or because they are assumed to have more ability, due to their higher education.
Asides from the obvious advantage of earning a college degree, which is more money, and the not so obvious advantage, a more meaningful life, there is at least one other advantage. That advantage is living a healthier life. Yes, it is true. Those individuals that earn a higher education have been shown to live a healthier life. Just attending college has been shown to cause individuals
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to become more sociable, more open-minded, more rational, and less prejudiced which can all lead to a healthier mind and soul. The health of the college graduates children can also be affected. Those that can not afford to give their children the health care they need and deserve, are in turn going to have children that are not as healthy. The same can be said for the individual that earned the degree. He or she will be able to afford to give themselves the level of healthcare that they would not be able to provide had they not earned their degree. According to a NEA Research Center report, people that earn a higher education are less likely to smoke, less likely to be overweight, more likely to exercise, more likely to have regular dental check-ups, and less likely to be disabled(Why College, March 1999). As you can see, all of the above listed pertain to ones health. If there are that many benefits that can contribute to simply getting a college degree, why would anyone not want to do so? The answer in most cases is either motivation, or the lack of funding to pay for college. That is where those that can afford to attend college come in. By attaining their degree, they are not only helping themselves out, but all of those that they surround themselves with. Likewise, all those that they associate themselves with affect those they associate themselves with and so on.
As can be seen, there are many factors that come into play when deciding whether to attend college. One has to take into consideration the financial aspect of being able to afford college, and weigh the pro's and con's of attending college. Those that are able to afford college should take full advantage of the opportunity given them. The benefits of earning a degree can extend far beyond the black and white differences of more money with a degree and less without. Those that choose to go to college to earn a degree are first of all, going to earn nearly twice as much money in the span of their lifetime than those that do not. Second of all, by surrounding oneself with people in an environment where learning and succeeding are the central objective, success will be exactly what they get in return. From learning to view the world with an open-mind, to being able to spend time
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with their loved ones more often due to the excess income, life simply takes on a more meaningful aspect when one attends college. Finally, a benefit most look over or just never realize, is the fact that earning a college degree can actually lead to a healthier life. From being less likely to smoke, to being more likely to get routine dental exams, a degree affords one the opportunity to enjoy life from a healthier point of view. Given these three examples of benefits of earning a college degree, it is hard to see why a person would not want to go to college and further their education. College is not for everyone, and that is perfectly fine. Think of it this way, If a person could have the opportunity, before they were born, to choose between having a father or mother with a college education, and a high paying job, or a father or mother with a high school diploma and a low income hourly job, which would he or she pick. Go to college and get a degree.
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The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings. http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-210.pdf
1996 Economic Report of the President . http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy97/pdf/erp.pdf
The Value of Higher Education: Individual and Societal Benefits.
Why College? Private Correlates of Educational Attainment, Postsecondary Opportunity, Number 81, March 1999.
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