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A College Degree Is Worth the Effort and Expense Essay

In today’s economy many people wonder if a college degree is worth the time, effort, and expense it takes to complete it. I, a twenty-seven year old who did not think it was worth it when I graduated from high school, have changed my position on the issue. I have had experience in today’s workforce and it is not easy to find a satisfying job with only a high school diploma and it is extremely difficult to find a job with decent pay and any benefits in which you have a chance of advancing in that career. These things are essential for a productive and fulfilling life.

I believe that getting a college degree is well worth the time, effort, and expenses. A report by the Pew Research Center found that college graduates make about $550,000 more than high school graduates over the course of their careers (Cass). This shows the significantly larger income opportunities of having a college degree versus only a high school diploma. Imagine the difference of making $465,000 compared to $1,015,000 over a thirty year career? Breaking that down for $465,000 would be $15,500 a year, $1,291. 67 a month, $300.

39 a week, and $7. 51 a hour compared to $1,015,000 or $33,833. 33 a year, $2,819. 44 a month, $655. 68 a week, and $16. 39 a hour. It is a big difference! In today’s workforce we have an increase in unemployment. The unemployment rate in 2010 was 5. 4 percent for people with bachelor’s degrees and less for those with higher degrees, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, 7 percent of those with associate’s degrees and 10. 3 percent of those with only a high school diploma were out of work (Cass).

This shows that obtaining a college degree enhances chances of becoming gainfully employed. Charles Wallace also writes about the demands of our workforce and our need for college education. Wallace quotes a report that “estimates the economy will create about 47 million jobs by 2018, including 14 million new jobs and 33 million jobs replacing workers who leave or retire. About 33 percent of those jobs will require a bachelor’s degree and another 30 percent will require an associate’s degree or at least some college training. Only a third will be available to people with a high school diploma or less. ”

The cost of college has increased more than many other things in today’s society, in fact “the cost of college has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, while housing costs and the overall Consumer Price Index have risen less than 25 percent” (Cass). However the rewards you can get from college still outweigh the effort and expense at least for now. The government is trying to help ease the burden, “starting in July 2014, loan recipients will have to devote only 10 percent of their income to loan repayments, rather than 15 percent.

And those loans will be forgiven after 20 years, rather than the current 25 years” (Brooks). If the costs continue to rise so dramatically then the costs will eventually begin to outweigh the rewards. However when you look at the rewards you have to look at more than just the financial gains; there are many other rewards to consider such as health insurance, retirement plans, experience with more diverse cultures, and the positive self-improvements that come with college education. As Charles Nelson, writer of the essay, “Investing in Futures: the Cost of College” states, “degrees pay off in other ways too.

College exposes students to new issues and subject areas; it helps students to consider the value of things that might otherwise seem pointless; college graduates may lead more rewarding lives, being more mentally engaged by their surroundings (333). I believe a college education is a very important investment. It outweighs the costs many times over. College education opens many doors and lasts a lifetime. It increases the ability to understand other societies, helps to explore options that may have never been considered before, and contributes to a greater sense of self fulfillment and self-worth.


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