Friday, October 1, 2010

The Benefits of Higher Education

CollegeBoard recently published "Education Pays 2010: Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society,” a triennial report that documents the benefits that individuals and societies receive from investing in higher education. In regards to postsecondary education, statistics tend to focus on disparities between high school and college students. The individual benefit of attending college is well-founded as adults with a bachelor’s degree earn $21,900 more in median earnings than high school graduates. Furthermore, the report notes that young adults (20-24) who only earned a high school diploma were 2.6 times more likely to be unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2009 than college graduates. Nevertheless, “Education Pays 2010” stands out due to its concern for the societal benefits of investing in higher education.

A more educated society releases stress on social programs. “Education Pays 2010” found that spending on social support programs and incarceration costs are much lower for college graduates in comparison to high school graduates. College educated adults are more likely than others to receive health insurance and pension benefits from their employers and remain satisfied with their job. Additionally, adults with a bachelor’s degree are believed to smoke less frequently and exercise more often than individuals without a college education.

These statistics indicate both the individual and societal benefit of investments in postsecondary education. Based upon these findings, increased access to postsecondary education will provide tremendous benefits for both low-income families and society as whole. Earlier this month, CLASP opened their Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success in order to facilitate postsecondary educational opportunities for low income families.

For more on Family Economic Success.

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