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All throughout high school, you hear from teachers and parents alike that you should be thinking about where you want to go to college. What is your next move? What are your plans after school? At this point you should have already clocked in long hours filling out applications to the top schools of your choice. Is college really that important though? For some this is a matter of opinion, but it’s a lot more helpful to simply look at the facts.
A recent article that appeared in the LA Times discussed a study done byGeorgetownUniversity’s Center on Education and the Workforce about the relationship between education level and lifetime earnings. The research showed that people who earn bachelor’s degrees make, on average, 84% over their lifetime than high school graduates.
In terms of dollars and cents, the college graduate makes an average of $2.3 million in a lifetime compared to the $1.3 million earned by a high school graduate. For those who go even further to obtain their doctoral degrees, they will earn an average of $3.3 million over a lifetime. Even within the same industry, employees with a higher education level typically make more than the rest.
These findings make it pretty clear; if you want to earn more in your lifetime, get a college degree. Although there is never any guarantee that you will be able to land a high-paying job fresh out of school, over a lifetime the college grad will usually end up making a lot more than the high school grad. TheGeorgetownUniversitystudy also estimated that by 2018, 63% of American jobs will require some sort of post-secondary education or training.
When you think about going to college, you cannot just simply think about all the money you will make after you graduate. It’s also extremely important and necessary to factor in how much you will end up spending on school. Tuition rates have been rising, and unless you’ve got a rich uncle, a trust fund, or can ride out that basketball scholarship, this is something you will have to worry about.
For the 2007-2008 school year, the average cost for tuition at a four-year private institution was around $22,000. This is just for tuition. Add in room and board (around $8,000 per year), and you will end up paying an average of $30,000 annually for that good private schooling.
Public universities are a nice option for people that don’t have money coming out of their ears, but they are not cheap either. On average, tuition at a four-year public institution was listed at around $6,000 per year. Room and board costs around $7,000, so that adds up to a total of $13,000 per year.
Of course, if you don’t have the money there are always the options of grants, financial aids and student loans. Do your research and spend the time filling out the forms; it will pay off in the long run.
So if you want to make more money in your life, go to college. Just keep in mind that it won’t be cheap or easy.