A College Degree: The Next Step or a Mere Stepping Stone
In our modern economic climate it is a commonly held concern that continuously rising tuition prices will excel the financial benefits of possessing a college degree. Understandably, many people thus feel that pursuing a college degree is not worth the sacrifice of their time and money. Whilst acquiring a college degree comes with often outstanding debt and does not ensure employment, statistically, people with college degrees hold a greater likelihood of being hired by employers and earning a significantly higher salary. I believe the career and financial opportunities provided by a college education makes a university degree a worthwhile investment.
Statistically, employers are more likely to favor college graduates as potential workers over those with only a highschool diploma. The advantage of a higher probability of employment that college degree holders comprise over highschool graduates is evident in the gap between unemployment rates of the two groups. In the article “The cost of not having a college degree”, the author Danielle Kurtzleben presents that, “Among 25- to 32-year-olds with a college degree, the jobless rate as of March 2013 was 3.8 percent […] and it was more than three times as high — 12.2 percent — for those with only a high school diploma” (2014). The statistics presented in the article express the extent to which higher education is positively correlated with rates of employment. With rates of unemployment being expressed as more than three times the percentage in those with just a highschool diploma (Kurtzleben, D, 2014) than those with a college degree, It can be concluded that pursuing a higher education, in many cases, increases one’s chance of employment. The amount of secondary education one has also plays a factor when an employer has to let go of employees.
As discussed in the article, “How liberal arts and sciences majors fare in employment: A report on earnings and long term career paths”, when the 2008-2010 recession on employment striked, ‘“nearly four out of five jobs lost were held by those with no formal education beyond highschool.” Those with a four-year degree, on the other hand, were “largely protected against job losses during the recession [(Carnevale, Jayasundera, and Cheah, 2012, 12)]”” (Humphreys, D, Kelly, D, 2014, pp. 198). The fact that the vast majority of those let off of their jobs had no secondary education speaks volumes about what factors employers may take into account when choosing which workers to let go of. As evidenced by both the rates of unemployment and likelihood of being fired during a recession being lower for college graduates, a secondary education degree provides a significant advantage for workers.
A college degree also provides, in many cases, superior financial opportunities. The financial advantage of possessing a college degree is evident in the difference between the median salary of college graduates and highschool graduates. As presented by Carnevale, Jayasundera, and Cheah, “the average earnings of a bachelor’s degree-holder remain nearly twice as much as those of a worker with only a highschool diploma” (2012, 12.) (Humphreys, D, Kelly, D, 2014, pp. 198). The salary benefits of possessing a college degree are further presented in the average earnings that have increased overtime. In the article “The cost of not having a college degree”, it is stated that, “Indeed, median annual earnings for full-time working 25-to 32-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees grew by nearly $6,700 to $45,500 from 1965 to 2013. During that same time, median annual earnings for high school graduates in that same age group fell by nearly $3,400 to $28,000” (Kurtzleben, D, 2014). The information provided by author Kurtzleben shows that the gap between the average salaries of bachelor degree holders and highschool graduates of the same age group, while previously quite prominent, has only increased overtime to the benefit of college graduates.
The career and financial advantages a college degree provides, I believe, makes college a worthwhile investment. While increasing tuition prices leave many in doubt that a college degree will pay itself off, not to be overlooked is how college graduates are less likely to face unemployment. Furthermore, when employed, college graduates will, on average, make nearly twice as much as non-university graduates. As an investment that can result in such advantages down the road, a college degree remains an adequate next step for people who want to pursue a future of stability and satisfaction.
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