What Is The Value Of A College Degree

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The Value of a College Degree Alex Partak For many Americans, earning a college degree is seen as a necessary achievement in life. Kids are made aware of the value of a degree from an early age, long before they can understand what it really means to earn one. Our ideas regarding college degrees are often skewed by inter-generational familial pressure and ideas, despite the rapidly changing landscape of the global job market. Does a college degree mean as much to the youth of today as it did to their parents and grandparents? While many studies have been carried out in the arena of college degrees and how they prepare students for the working world, much of this research is from decades past and in need of revision. In 1940, when the Census Bureau began polling respondents on their level of education, only 4.6% claimed to hold a bachelor’s degree. That number has been sharply rising in the decades since, with a 2017 Census Bureau report claiming that 33.4% of Americans age 25 and older now hold four-year degrees or better. With so many Americans now college educated, it would seem that public perception of the value of college degrees is both positive and strong. Is this perception valid? In an individual monetary sense, research shows that having a college degree is worthwhile. Over their lifetimes, college grads can expect to earn an average of $1 million more than their non-degree-holding peers, according to a recent study out of Georgetown University. Another recent study, conducted by the Pew Research Center, shows that the average yearly income gap between those with college degrees and those with only high school diplomas has reached an all-time high of $17,500. Further studies show that having a college degree in any capacity has far more bearing on future earning potential than one’s university or major of study. While the financial value of a college degree may seem clear to the individual, does a college degree have practical value in a broader sense? From an employer’s perspective, are college graduates better prepared for the workforce than their non-graduate counterparts? These days, employers place much emphasis on the education level of a perspective employee. College degrees are held in
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