What Are Some Benefits of a College Education?

Students who are on the fence about investing in a college degree might be interested in learning about the numerous positive aspects to obtaining a degree. Keep reading to find out more about the academic benefits of a college education, in addition to personal and professional benefits.

Overview of Benefits of a College Education

According to the National Education Association (NEA), adults with a bachelor's degree are more likely to vote, use the Internet and technology, read books and do volunteer work than those without a college degree (www.nea.org). College graduates usually earn more money than those without a college degree and, generally, make better and healthier choices in their lifestyle.

Important Information About College Education

Prerequisites Undergraduate programs typically require you to have a high school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Many schools offer fully or partially available online programs
Degree Fields of Study A broad range of programs are available in the liberal arts, sciences, business, and professional (vocational) fields
Continuing Education After earning a bachelor's degree, students might consider continuing on to graduate school

Professional Benefits

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), if you're a college graduate, you'll earn substantially more on average per week than if you ended your academic training after high school. In 2014, the BLS reported that workers with bachelor's degrees earned a median weekly salary of $1,101, while high school graduates with no college earned $668. The BLS also noted that high school graduates who took some college courses earned a median weekly salary of $741, even if they didn't finish their degree program (www.bls.gov).

Personal Benefits

In a 2003 NEA article, the organization cited research completed by scholar and policy analyst Tom Mortenson, who compiled a list of behaviors that have been associated with a college degree. According to Mortenson's findings, if you graduate with a college degree, you'll be more likely to exercise, more likely to read for recreation and more likely to have regular dental and medical checkups.

Community Benefits

In 2013, the College Board published its 'Education Pays' report, which found that 42% of graduates of a 4-year college did volunteer work in 2012. Comparatively, 29% of adults who completed some college or a 2-year degree volunteered, and 17% of those whose highest level of education was a high school diploma did volunteer work (collegeboard.org). Because of higher salaries, adults with college degrees are also less likely to rely on public assistance programs and more likely to generate revenue to support academic research.

It is important to note that these findings are showing trends among college graduates in comparison to non-graduates. The report didn't say a college degree was responsible for these trends but that people with a college degree were simply more likely to make such choices in their life.

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