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A College Education Is Still A Great Investment

A COLLEGE EDUCATION IS STILL A GREAT INVESTMENT

January 2, 2015

The idea is currently being promoted that a college degree is no longer a good investment because of the rising cost of higher eduction and the job opportunities that are now available in fields that do not require a postsecondary education.  This idea is a myth!  It just is not true.  Over the course of an individual's lifetime, a college degree is still the best investment a person can make for themselves, their families, their churches, and their communities.

Based upon research released in 2013 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 almost two-thirds of American jobs will require some form of postsecondary education and training beyond high school.  There will be 55 million job openings through 2020, nearly 65 percent of them will require some college, an associate's or bachelor's degreeThree of the fastest growing occupations (STEM, health care professions, and community services) require postsecondary eduction and training.  The median lifetime earnings for workers with a bachelor's degree is $2.4 million.  For workers with just a high school diploma, it is $1.4 million.  Between December 2007 and February 2012, people with a bachelor's degree or more gained 2.2 million jobs, while people with a high school diploma or less lost 5.8 million jobs.  While I do not have current Canadian labor statistics, the pattern is clearly consistent across North America.  There are clear employment and economic advantages to having a college education.

However, the advantages of a college education go beyond job opportunities and financial advancement.  A price tag cannot be placed upon the personal growth and learning that takes place through the college experience  Important outcomes such as spiritual formation, critical thinking, written and oral communication skills, technology capabilities, interpersonal relationships,  cultural awareness,  world view, and community service are developed through the formal and informal learning that takes place in a college or university environment.  These types of life skills not only transfer to the work place but are also applied in one's personal life through the family, the church, the local community, and the larger world.   These valuable skills, attitudes, and character qualities cannot be quantified in dollars and cents.  They are priceless, and they can be greatly enhanced through a college education, particularly  in a Christ-centered learning community.

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant


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