The Public And Social Benefits Of A College Degree
Aside from the one obvious benefit of earning a college degree – making more money – there are a myriad of other advantages to furthering your education past the high school level. By devoting the time and commitment to the improvement of personal knowledge and intellectual fortification, you provide yourself with the tools to be a better employee, a better citizen, and a better all-around individual. There are several economic and social factors (both individual and civic in nature) that you might not even consider to be the potential outcomes of you, an individual, earning a college degree. The benefit of earning a college degree does not just have an individual impact, but it has a societal impact as well.
Among the many personal benefits of earning a college degree is, of course, higher personal earnings. A person with at least a bachelor’s degree tends to earn at least two times more money annually than a person with a high school diploma alone. This personal plus has the potential to influence the public sector in turn. The greater number of people with college educations leads to lower unemployment rates, which in turn leads to decreased reliance on publicly-funded programs such as welfare. This concept of personal improvement for the greater good can be further demonstrated.
By achieving a strong educational foundation, a person tends to continue to educate themselves throughout their lifetime. Whether this is by earning further college degrees or by simply being more civically minded and socially conscious, the benefit of a college degree has been shown to increase a person’s sense of civic responsibilities and awareness. Those with higher educations show increased participation in voting, increased altruism, and a greater appreciation of social diversity. This in turn can lead to a decrease in crime and poverty rates.
There are many more personal benefits of having a college degree other than making more money. Often, those who have attained a higher education enjoy better long-term health and thus an increased life expectancy, which could be related to higher personal income. With the benefit of earning more money comes the ability to afford better preventative health care. Those with higher education tend to have more hobbies as well. But one important thing to note: those that have a college degree are often able to provide an improved quality of life for their offspring. As a result, college-educated parents often breed college-educated children.
The benefits of a college education extend far into the workforce as well. With the ownership of a college degree usually comes the increased ability and the willingness to use and continue to learn technology. Also, from doing the work that is involved in earning a diploma often comes the experience with peers that will help you succeed in a competitive business world. College is probably the best place for networking that exists. During your four or five years as an undergraduate, you have the chance to meet literally thousands of people who can be potential business contacts down the road. Not only can it be an opportunity to make allies in the workplace for the future, but it is also simply good practice in the art of exchanging ideas with your peers.
In the past, employers usually required only a high school diploma for employment. Today, however, a bachelor’s degree is often the minimum level of education that a potential employer will even consider. While it is possible to still succeed in the business world without the benefit of a college degree, it is highly unlikely, given today’s vastly competitive and technology-driven workforce. And while layoffs do affect those in the workforce with college degrees, it is usually easier for them to find a new job for those who are not.
A college degree is considered enduring. Its impact does not change or lessen, despite its age. It is considered a scale by which you have measured and proven your competency in both general and specific areas of academia. By earning a college degree, you not only take steps toward enriching yourself over the course of your entire lifetime, but you also serve to enrich the society you live in. The benefit of a college degree far outweighs the financial gains you stand to make.