With the cost of college continuing to rise each year, it is getting harder for parents to dish out tuition money and students are going into more and more debt. When choosing between a full-time job right out of high school, or taking on tuition bills, young people might ask themselves how valuable higher education really is. But an education is more than just a piece of paper, and when it comes to a college degree, it holds both monetary and non-monetary value.
According to the 2009 study “Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society” conducted by College Board, when it comes to lifetime earnings, the average college graduate will earn 60 percent more than the average high school graduate. Some may find it more appealing to begin working full time and make money right out of high school, rather than spend it on a college education. But while they may be making more money than their degree-seeking peers, once their peers have graduated, it won’t take them long to not only recoup the earnings they sacrificed while in college, but also the cost of full tuition, in a fairly short period of time, the study reported. Thinking about skipping out on college because you would have to go into debt to pursue it? According to the study, students who borrow the majority of funds needed for college will likely be financially better off, fairly soon after college graduation than they would have been if they began working full-time as a high school graduate.
The value of a college degree lies in more than just money. Those who have pursued higher education experience a better quality of life than non-graduates. College graduates value healthier lifestyles, having lower smoking rates and more positive perceptions of personal health. The study reported that higher levels of education are correlated with better health at every age and income level. Those with higher levels of education are also correlated with higher involvement in civic participation, such as volunteering, voting, and blood donating. According to the study, higher levels of participation in volunteer activities are associated with higher levels of education. Earning your degree can also will not only benefit you and the people around you, but your children as well. College-educated adults are more likely to have children with higher cognitive skills and be involved in more extracurricular activities, such as athletic, cultural, and religious, than other children.