You’re Better Off Graduating From College
College isn’t for everyone. While this is true, until greater emphasis is put on improving vocational schools and job training programs, one is clearly much better off going to and graduating from college. This is an issue we’ll be talking about in greater detail in light of Scott Walker’s (dropped out after 4 years and 34 credits remaining) viable path as the GOP nominee for President.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 18.2 million students enrolled in college in 2007. Overall, around 39% of 18 to 24 year olds were enrolled in college that year, and an additional 447,000 students were attending non-degree institutions of higher learning. The number of people in the world in this age group is growing, but relatively, the number of young adults choosing to attend school every year is increasing rapidly, due to job demands and other factors.
Here’s a break down as to who is attending school (all stats are as of 2007):
Males enrolled: 7.8 million
Females enrolled: 10.4 million
Full time students: 11.3 million
Part time students: 6.9 million
Students aged 25+: 6.6 million
Undergrads: 15.6 million
Grad students: 2.3 million
By far, one of the biggest advantages to going to college is being qualified for more high-paying jobs in most fields. While this doesn’t always hold true, college grads do, on average, make a lot more money than workers who just have a high school diploma. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the annual salary average differences between educational levels is staggering:
High school drop-outs: $18,734
High school graduates: $27,915
College grads (with a bachelor’s degree): $51,206
Advanced degree holders: $74,602
That means, over the course or working 40 years, someone with a high school diploma will make $1,116,600 while someone with a bachelor’s degree will make $2,048,204. That’s nearly a million dollars more! Keep in mind also that these statistics are as of 2004.
Successful People Who Did Not Graduate from College
1) Walt Disney
2) Cornerstone of American literature F. Scott Fitzgerald
3) Microsoft founder Bill Gates
4) ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings
5) Apple founder Steve Jobs
6) Beatles co-founder John Lennon
7) Whole Foods CEO John Mackey
8) CNN founder and America’s largest landowner Ted Turner
9) Media mogul Oprah Winfrey
10) Architectural pioneer Frank Lloyd Wright
11) Inventors of manned flight Orville and Wilbur Wright
12) Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Education, or lack thereof, is a huge contributor to income inequality in this country. While many current college graduates are having difficulty finding jobs in the current economy, saying one is better off not going to and graduating from college is just false if you define better as exposure to different people with backgrounds and beliefs broadening ones horizons while ensuring greater financial security.