The Value of Education: Is the Investment a Good One?

(This is a guest article by Lewis Bennett*)

Entering into further education can be extremely beneficial to your future. It is also a necessity for a wide range of jobs and careers, such as becoming a doctor, nurse, dentist or engineer. Although continuing on to University or College can be costly, it also provides you with a lot of life experiences that you would otherwise miss out on. It can enable you to build additional skills and confidence, and provide a number of new opportunities.

Nearly 90% of young people in America graduate from high school, and about 60% of those graduates start college the next year. There are a number of reasons why students choose to attend college.

How Your Education Affects Your Career

For those considering further education, there is still evidence to indicate that you are more likely to be in demand than those who do not have any extra qualifications. Furthermore, there is also a great deal of evidence to suggest that those with degrees will also fill higher level occupations as they are deemed to be more qualified.

Earning Potential

By obtaining a higher education qualification, you will invariably increase the amount that you are capable of earning and be provided with a much more extensive range of opportunities in the long-term.

The US Census Bureau is quoted with saying the following:
“Adults with advanced degrees earn four times more than those with less than a high school diploma. Workers 18 and older with a master’s, professional or doctoral degree earned an average of $82,320 in 2006, while those with less than a high school diploma earned $20,873.”

Americans with a bachelor’s degree earned $56,788 on average according to the Census while those with a high school diploma only earned $31, 071. This is a significant amount of money but when you calculate that amount over 10 or 15 years that number rises to $150,000 and $225,000 respectively.

A Rewarding Career

Having an extensive education behind you also makes you more likely to have a long lasting and rewarding career rather then just some job. Anyone can find a job but a fullfilling career can be more elusive.

It has also been noted that those who graduate from further education are more likely to work for the majority of their life and are unlikely to be unemployed.

Education doesn’t guarantee success

A college degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee success but it does increase your chances of obtaining wealth. There are lots of highly educated individuals working at gas stations and there are grade school dropouts running multinational corporations but statistics show that an education will increase your chances.

In a recent survey of some of the America’s wealthiest businesspeople, 30% felt that a good work ethic was the most helpful asset in achieving success. Work ethic was chosen just slightly more than the 28% that said a post secondary education was more important.

“Donative Commercial Non-Profits”

There are a number of economists that study higher education, like Gordon Wilson, who suggest that universities and colleges are “donative commercial non-profits” – that is, they are institutions that charge a fee, but where that fee doesn’t cover the cost of the product.

A business and a “donative commercial non-profit” are different in many ways – to start with, motivation and customer choice are very different. Prospective students and their parents base their decisions on hunches and reputation. In that sense, you often only have one chance at choosing a college: therefore there is no opportunity for repeat customers.

Another important element is how your fellow students will influence the value and quality of your education – both in the present and throughout the rest of your career and life. The networks of fellow alumni and the prestige of your educational institution will follow with you for years to come.

Additional Benefits to Further Education

Many students believe that their going to University was incredibly worthwhile and that they learnt a lot about themselves, as well as obtaining qualifications to obtain a good job once they graduated. There is also the added benefit of experiencing a wide social scene and mixing with people from different cultures. You are also far more likely to develop good communication skills and this is something that is just as attractive to future employers as your degree.

Even if you feel that your time has passed, you can still opt to continue your education at any age and mature students are becoming more and more common.

*About the author: This article was written by Lewis Bennett - He writes about education and finance, including the mortgage and remortgage market.

*Image Credit: Photograph by CarbonNYC [via Flickr Creative Commons]

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Ashley said...

I definitely see an education as an investment. However, like all other investments your how you handle it determine what type of return you see. I think of the woman that made headlines a few weeks ago for suing her school because she couldn't find a job after graduation. Perfect example of a good investment with bad management.

Canadian College Student said...

Education is definitely a good investment and not only for the degree and the knowledge from the books but also for the various things one can learn on campus.

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BMWright said...

Let's not forget the value of life long friendships and networks that can be built in college.

Steve Ballmer knew little about computers and software development, yet his poker playing Harvard buddy, Bill Gates did. Steve is a multi-millionaire with a fantastic career today due to that college friendship.

I've also written an article on the best investment advice I've learned over my 38 years.