Higher education can be very beneficial to the individual and to the broader community. The common conception that higher education would mean higher pay is proven to be true. Not only is college beneficial to the individuals, but in the long-run, it helps their communities as well. College-graduates can provide their communities with new businesses and a better skilled work-force. Therefore, it would be an advantageous for people to attend college as it will promise a brighter future. College education was said to be beneficial even in the earliest years of American history.
One of the many people who advocated college was Thomas Jefferson, “The less wealthy people… by the bill for a general education, would be qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to exercise with intelligence their parts of self-government…” (88). His writings about education has shaped the early decades of America’s schooling system. He thought that education would help to ensure the equality of all people in the country. Higher education was thought to be beneficial to early America because it was supposed to preserve the nation’s democracy.
Schools like Harvard in 1636 and Yale in 1701 strongly approved of a good education. The colonies of America directly supported many of the early colleges (Rudolph 492). In the 1950s, The Truman Commission on Higher Education helped push the community college movement. They said that education would promote “equal liberty and equal opportunity to differing individuals and groups” (Ostar 168). This group wanted the citizens of America to be able to understand their rights and duties in the democratic nation.
Typically, today’s belief about college is that it provides better economic benefits. These benefits could be higher status jobs and better pay. These beliefs stem from many sources. Every year, newspaper and television would feature stories about the current college graduates and their future jobs. These stories contribute to giving the public the idea that college is about success. President Bill Clinton gave a speech at Princeton University about the significance of going to college. He proclaimed that a higher education would lead to better individual economic interest.
He continues to say that “Two years of college earn a quarter of a million dollars more than their high school counter-parts over a lifetime” (Reaping 20). Policymakers encouraged people to attend college when they allowed forty billion dollars over five years to be used for better development of education. Because of all the publicity associating with better pay, many Americans now believe the same. There has been research to confirm the views of higher education and higher pay. Schultz, Becker, and Mincer formally proved the relationship of the two.
Becker said investments in human capital would increase in value as the individual’s skills increased. Education was said to be an investment that would later return with positive outcomes. Leslie and Brinkman estimate that mean rate of return to obtaining an undergraduate education was about 12. 4 percent (Reaping 145). Berger and Black university of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research said, “The most enduring economic impact of the universities is the increased earning power that students take with them into the job market” (NELA). They convey that college education would help the individuals throughout their life.
They would contribute to the nation by starting new business with a better labor force. Better education may also have a beneficial effect on civil society. Civil society could be strengthened by community involvement and organization that helps keep communities together. It is thought that higher education prompts people to volunteer, donate to charities, and overall help their community. It is estimated by the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center that people with better education are more likely to be involved in their community and participate in leadership activities.
These college-educated participants are likely to be in a group to solve problems for their community. They concluded that a person doubles their probability to be a leader of a community if they have a four-year degree or higher compared to a high school graduate. Individuals were surveyed about donating to charities. 85 percent of high school graduates responded “yes” while 93 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher did the same (NELA). Since Fall 2002, there are more people with college degrees than ever before.
Workers who attended college went from 26 percent to 33 percent between 1992 and 2000. This is because employers like workers who have graduated from college more compared to non-graduates. Studies have shown that college-graduates are generally better at “creative thinking, effective communication, problem solving, organization, teamwork, research, and decision making” (NELA). People with a college degree are half as likely to be without a job compared to people who are high school graduates.
This is because many managers generally feel that college-graduates are more determined and serious about their job. Managers also tend to give more promotions to the college-graduates over the non-graduates (NELA). Higher education can lead to public economic benefits. These improvements generally help the nation’s economy as a whole. This comes from the peoples participations with better education. Increased tax revenues would mean that the nation is better off. In 1994, college-graduates paid 71 percent of all federal incomes taxes.
Better education would also mean better productivity. America’s productivity has increased over the last twenty years because of the steady increase of the quality of education. Increased consumption would also be good for the nation because it would lead to a stronger economy. Studies have shown that the increase of consumption is direct result of better education. Since the economic system is always changing, higher education has allowed the workforce to be more flexible because they gain generalized skills such as critical thinking, writing, and communication.
The final public economic benefit is that college-graduates are less likely to rely on government assistance programs for living, such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, and other programs (Reaping 15). There are many individual economic benefits with higher education. College-graduates earn more in both their lifetime and annual incomes. In 1995, a person with a bachelor’s degree earned 73 percent more money than a high school graduate. There have been studies to prove that people who went to college earn better fringe benefits such as vacations and health care.
College-graduates are hired at a higher consistency. In 1998, unemployment has decreased for people with a bachelor’s degree. People with only a high school diploma are three times as likely to be without a job. Another benefit of having a college degree is improved working conditions. These people enjoy air conditioned heated rooms with other benefits like computers. Overall, their working conditions are better than high school counterparts. Research has told us that college graduates are better at changing jobs. This is because they have learned more skills to apply to a broader range of differing jobs.
The Census Bureau’s survey says that “those with a bachelor’s degree or more have higher value interest earning assets, home equity, and other financial assets” (Reaping 16). There are public social benefits that stem from college graduates. Out of a population of 100,000, there were 122 prisoners with college experience compared to 1,829 prisoners with some high school education. A study showed that 77 percent of people with college degrees help their communities by volunteering compared to only 45 percent of high school graduates.
Another public social benefit is that there are better voter turnouts with college graduates. In 1992, 79 percent of college educated people ages 25-44 voted; this is compared to 50 percent of those with only a high school diploma and 27 percent of those without a high school diploma. Studies have shown that the offspring of the better educated parents have a better chance to go to college. The daughters of the college graduates are less likely to have unexpected pregnancies. College-educated people also have more free time. They have time to read more literature than high school graduates.
They also visit theme parks, museums and sporting events at higher rates (Reaping 23). With all these great benefits from college education, there is no reason why students shouldn’t go to college. The experience will stay with the individual throughout their life. Their private economic benefits are better, while simultaneously helping their nation with public economic benefits. College education is the way to a brighter and more prosperous future for all. Works Cited Jefferson, Thomas. The autobiography of Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1790: together with a summary of the chief events in Jefferson’s life.
New York: Dover Publications, 2005. Print. “NELA. ” NELA. N. p. , n. d. Web. 1 Oct. 2013. Ostar, Allan W. Colleges and universities for change: America’s comprehensive public state colleges and universities. New York: AASCU Press, 1987. Print. Reaping the benefits: defining the public and private value of going to college: the new millennium project on higher education costs, pricing, and productivity. Washington, D. C. : The Institute for Higher Education, 1998. Print. Rudolph, Frederick. The American college and university, a history. 1st ed. New York: Alferd. A. Knopf, 1990. Print.
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