What Is the Importance of Higher Education?

After going to college, you may have improved career opportunities, receive higher pay, experience greater cultural awareness and have a life with more choices and possibilities. Read on to learn more about the benefits and importance of higher education.

Career Benefits

With a college education, you will probably make more money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly earnings in 2013 for high school graduates aged 25 and older were $651, while the median for individuals aged 25 and older with bachelor's degrees was $1,108 (www.bls.gov).

Unemployment rates are also affected by higher education. The BLS reported that those with high school diplomas experienced a 7.5% unemployment rate in 2013. The unemployment rate for those who held bachelor's degrees was only 4%.

Along with these benefits, you're likely to have more career choices and will probably be able to change careers more easily than those who have not completed some form of higher education. Even if you already hold a bachelor's degree, there are economic benefits to completing additional, graduate-level studies. In 2013, individuals with master's degrees earned a median weekly income of $1,329 and experienced an unemployment rate of around 3.4%, according to the BLS.

Social Benefits

As shown by the statistics above, you're less likely to live in poverty if you have earned a college degree. Higher education has other societal benefits, too. If you earn a college degree, you'll probably be better able to spend money to stimulate the economy. You'll also be more likely to volunteer and help the community you in which you live, according to the Illinois State Board of Higher Education (www.ibhe.state.il.us).

Personal Benefits

Pursuing higher education may help you to become more sensitive to cultural differences and be able to respect the beliefs of all types of people. After completing a college degree, you'll have a broader set of career options, which often leads to increased personal choice and freedom. You could even be healthier as a college graduate, as well. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2009 the portion of the population with the lowest prevalence of cigarette smoking was the portion who attained the highest level of education (www.cdc.gov).

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