Families and high school students ponder this question every year, especially when job prospects for young adults are unpredictable. But two studies show a college education is both a good value and beneficial.
The Pew Research Center’s study looks at the perceived value, affordability, and benefits of a college education. In the study, more women than men say a higher education provided value given the money spent, and the education helped them grow personally and intellectually. A Brookings Institute study that assessed the value of college from a variety of perspectives suggests a college education may be the best investment a person makes in his or her lifetime.
In our family, going to college wasn’t an option. My daughters, both members of Generation X, knew from an early age that getting a college degree was required (okay, a little brainwashing may have been involved). We believed a college education was a necessity for women to compete in business. So they attended college. Between the two of them, they have three degrees and several levels of Securities and Exchange Commission certification. Did it pay off? I would say yes. Each works for a global company – financial sector and real estate – and I think they’re pretty happy, which is another important measure of success. I firmly believe the education my daughters received has given them options and a quality of life they wouldn’t otherwise have.
As you can tell, I’m a big supporter of a college education. Is it expensive? Yes. In its study, The Brookings Institute estimated the average cost of a four-year degree to be $102,000. But the investment is worth it. These studies validate that. So do yourself a big favor. Stay in school and get a college degree, no matter what. You’ll be thankful your entire life.