More than a quarter of adults plan to return to school someday, but with rising tuition costs over the past several years, why is a college degree important?
According to 2014 Pew Research Center and Federal Reserve Bank of New York studies, it is worth it.
In fact, the Federal Reserve Bank study, "Do the Benefits of College Still Outweigh the Costs," concludes that, "investing in a college degree may be more important than ever before because those who fail to do so are falling further and further behind."
Here are five more reasons why college is worth it.
Reasons Why College Is Worth It
- You'll earn more money
- You'll be more likely to have a job
- Your employer is more likely to offer a retirement plan
- You'll be more satisfied with your work
- Your time and money spent on a degree will be worth it
1. You'll earn more money.
Why is a college degree important? It's no secret that college graduates earn higher salaries than non-graduates. A bachelor's degree graduate earns $17,500 more per year than a high school graduate and $15,500 more than a student with some college or a two-year degree, according to the Pew Research study.
What's new in the Pew Research study ("The Rising Cost of Not Going to College") is that it shows the wage gap between college and high school graduates' salaries is growing from previous generations. Millennials (adults ages 25-32) with a high school diploma today earn 62 percent of what their peers with bachelor's degrees earn. In the baby boomer generation, high school graduates earned 77 percent of what their college-graduate peers did.
2. You'll be more likely to have a job.
Despite the recent recession, college graduates are more likely to be employed than their less educated peers. Only 3.8 percent of bachelor's degree graduates are unemployed, compared with 12.2 percent of high school graduates and 8.1 percent of students with some college or a two-year degree.
Another one of the reasons why college is worth it is that college graduates find jobs faster than high school graduates—in 27 weeks versus 31 weeks.
Because of this increased likelihood of employment in better paying jobs, college graduates are less likely to live in poverty. While the incidence of poverty has risen among all young adults in recent years, only 6 percent of college graduates live in poverty, while 22 percent of high school graduates do.
3. Your employer is more likely to offer a retirement plan.
According to the Pew Research survey, 61 percent of college-educated millennials worked for an employer with a retirement plan, while only 36 percent of high school-educated millennials worked for an employer offering a pension plan.
4. You'll be more satisfied with your work.
College-educated young adults were more likely to view their current job as part of a career track (86 percent) compared to high school-educated young adults (57 percent). In addition, 53 percent of college graduates in their 20s and 30s said they were "very satisfied" with their work, compared to 37 percent of high school graduates.
Satisfaction and income can vary by college major offering a variety of reasons why college is worth it:
- Students who majored in engineering or the sciences, as well as in business, are more likely to be employed in a job "very closely" related to their field of study.
- Nearly 70 percent of college graduates said their field of study is at least somewhat related to the job they are now doing.
- More than half of college graduates who have family incomes higher than $100,000 said their current job is very closely connected to their major.
5. Your time and money spent on a degree will be worth it.
According to the Pew Research study, all generations—millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers—agree their education was worth it.
Graduates at both public and private universities have similar satisfaction levels in terms of the value of their education. Specifically, 91 percent of recent college graduates say their degree has already paid off or will pay off in the future.
In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank study concluded, "investing in a college education still appears to be a wise economic decision for the average person." The study showed that the return on investment for a bachelor's degree has remained a steady 15 percent throughout the past decade. Return rates were highest for majors requiring quantitative and analytical skills (such as engineering and math), as well as for majors in business and health professions.
Take the Next Step
Are you no longer asking why is a college degree important? If so, when you do enroll in an undergraduate program, be sure that you study hard. Thirty-eight percent of the Pew Research survey respondents said that studying harder during college would have improved their employment prospects even more.
If you're working and want to earn a college degree, check out Saint Leo University's online degree programs.
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Image credit: Saint Leo Univeristy Communications