Recently, college students have been forced to pay more for attending a higher education institution while earning less after graduating. On the other hand, the benefits of higher education in the cases outlined in this paper can overshadow the costs paid for it (Abel and Deitz 1).
Despite the fact that there are many advocates and opponents of whether students should go to college after school, the end decision is personal to every individual.
Benefits of Investing in College Education
As the United States restores from the Great Recession, it is becoming clear that the post-secondary system of education should evolve along with the development of society. Anectodal evidence about college graduates whose life after finishing education did not go as well as they planned is predominantly opposed by the fact that the majority of students’ college graduation has become the first step toward their professional career.
The opinion that investing in a college education can lead to further benefits in the future is shared by the individual students as well as the societies they are part of. According to the Education Pays report conducted by Baum, Ma, and Payea, college graduates, as well as those individuals that had, at least, some experience with college although did not receive a degree, are usually paid more in their current jobs than the non-graduates (10).
Furthermore, they make a greater contribution to society via the payment of taxes from their college education as well as their involvement in civic issues. When speaking of the influence on future generations, college graduates are also able to five their children benefits that influence their chances to get higher education as well as give similar benefits to their children (Baum, Ma and Payea 10).
A higher earning capacity is outlined as the main advantage of investing in college education and sometimes can overshadow other benefits that go along with it. In the course of their professional career, college graduates earn about sixty-five percent more than non-graduates. In addition, individuals with an advanced college degree, as a rule, earn about two to three times more than individuals without higher education in the span of their professional careers.
Higher salaries are not the only benefit offered by a college education. For instance, college graduates are more likely to enjoy benefits like health insurance or pension compensations provided by their employers. They are also much more likely to be happy about what they learn in the workplace and enjoy interactions with other employees more. Simply put, college graduates just seem to enjoy their professional life more. On the other hand, such findings never mean that there are no exceptions.
Of course, people with no education can make a fortune, while some individuals with a degree can have financial problems. There is a significant difference in the earning capacity of individuals with the same educational levels. However, the overall evidence suggests a clear connection between the level of education and the earning capacity. Despite the fact that college education is an investment that requires a significant amount of money put into it, it instrumental in improving the future lives of students that do decide to make this investment (Baum, Ma, and Payea 10).
Society, as a separate institution, also receives benefits from college students in the form of a financial return. Apart from the increase in the social productivity rates, the higher-earning capacity of college graduates also contributes to the higher levels of paying taxes on the levels of states and local governments. According to Baum, Ma and Payea, college graduates pay up to eighty percent more in taxes annually than the graduates of schools (11).
Furthermore, the individuals that went further to get an advanced degree for their profession pay on average four times more than high school graduates. As a result, the government’s spending that goes towards unemployment and medical insurance programs is much lower for the college graduates than school graduates.
Higher Education Issues and Challenges
Modern progress has caused significant challenges to nature and the overall structure of higher education in the United States of America. Expectations from the society as well as higher education public resources are nowadays under pressure from the shifts occurring in the educational system. These shifts are characteristic of the students that attend colleges, the governing bodies within colleges, and educational curriculum (Zusman 2).
Nowadays the federal government contributes to only one-third of the revenue of public colleges. Due to the fact that such revenue generally covers the most critical cost such as earning for the staff, the support from the government is one of the most significant issues. It is predicted that by the year 2020, a compilation of limited resources from the federal funding, the rising demands on the state levels, and constant changes in the attitudes of the public will end with a significant reduction of the support for higher education institutions on the state’s part.
Apart from a noticeable decrease in state funding, the college educational system has faced major challenges and changes in the sphere of scientific research. Such changes relate to cooperation between education institutions and commercial companies in the field of innovative research. A rise in the federal government focus on specific research projects, as well as a political influence of college funding, constitute a challenge to the system of higher education that should be focused on teaching students rather than collaborating with the government (Zusman 7).
The higher education curriculum poses a challenge that disrupts the process of teaching and learning. The formal college curriculum followed by students is in a position of being negatively influenced by two factors. One factor is a rapidly increasing amount of data that should be included in the curriculum and the second factor is a massive world of informal learning that is in large supported by the Internet culture. Both of these aspects are disruptive of the curriculum because it has been developed and structured by the educational institutions for decades and was not predicted to be influenced by new technologies or emerging amounts of new information (Bass 24).
Higher Education and the Time of Change
The stable development of higher education learning institutions is now facing serious change. One of the most significant concerns about the nature of modern college education is associated with the thought that colleges are failing to provide reasonable and meaningful education for students that are made to pay a considerable amount of tuition costs. Thus, higher education institutions are being associated with a resort that is much more focused on the athletic experiences of their students and the overall environment on campus rather than on the academics. These characteristics have led the public to view colleges as not under-resourced rather than under-accountable (University of Denver 6).
Concerns about the results of the college education are directly linked with the dissatisfaction with the high costs of getting a respectable education degree. According to the recent study outlined in the University of Denver Strategic Issues Panel on Higher Education report, approximately 45% of college students were unable to show any major improvements in the Collegiate Learning Assessment. Despite the fact that the study can be debated by significantly different evidence, it contributes to a list of accusations of low effectiveness of higher education (University of Denver 6).
Conclusion: Is Going to College Worth It
The past two decades have been witnesses to a significant rise of earning capacity for college graduates, including those belonging to marginal groups. However, the rise of earning capacity can have considerable differences (Oreopoulos and Petronijevic 60). In addition to that, the decline in governmental investments has led to the increase in privatization of higher education institutions that are now viewed as recreational facilities that has stopped facilitating proper education. With all the advantages and disadvantages combined, the choice to pursue higher education is different for every individual.
If to answer the question of whether a student should go to college after graduating high school, all the pros and cons outlined in the paper can become the guide for making a right decision. Despite the fact that the topic of higher education importance is controversial, it depends on personal preferences and the goals set for the future by a separate individual.
Abel, Jason and Richard Deitz. “Do the Benefits of College Still Overweight the Costs?” Current Issues in Economics and Finance 20.1 (2012): 1-12. Print.
Bass, Randy. “The Problem of Learning in Higher Education.” Educause Review 1.23 (2012): 23-33. Print.
Baum, Sandy, Jennifer Ma, and Kathleen Payea. Education Pays. The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society. 2013. Web.
Oreopoulos, Philip, and Uros Petronijevic. “Making College Worth It: A Review of the Returns to Higher Education.” Future of Children 23.1 (2013): 41-65. Print.
University of Denver. Unsettling Times: Higher Education in an Era of Change. 2014. Web.
Zusman, Ami. Challenges Facing Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century. n.d. Web.