In today’s society, a rising question in the minds of American youth is, “Is college worth it?” To which the answer is a resounding “yes”. Attending a university still carries a large amount of value ranging from being able to develop as a person by gaining responsibility and independence to the opportunity of increased material wealth (higher wages, promotion opportunities, etc.). There is pressure from a global economy for skilled engineers and scientists as well as bright attorneys and physicians. Also, many new forms of college like online and community colleges that make it less expensive and tasking to move or attend a traditional four- year university. Making it easier to attend, and get a degree. Colleges and other organizations offer scholarships to reward student academic, athletic and artistic achievement or talent. College is still worth it and if we are to compete in a global economy where India has more honor roll students then the United States has citizens, then we still need Americans to go to school those extra years and get that degree.
First we turn to the facts. Evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that people with education in technical, technology, business, education, healthcare and engineering fields are in demand and they expect increases in the number of jobs available for those fields. Remember all growth data is over a period of time of 2016 and 2026. For engineers they should expect an increase of 139,300 new jobs overall types of engineers. Computer and IT fields are to see 557,100 jobs by 2026. As the baby boomer generation retires, the healthcare industry will have an increase of 18 percent, or an addition of 2,400,000 jobs. Needing nurses and physician’s assistants. Education and training fields are to get an increase of 889,900 new jobs. Proving that there is a demand for jobs with college education. Such a demand for these jobs shows a value in higher education.
Universities can build character. As students go through their education they learn key attributes. According to the book, “Thriving in College and Beyond: Research-Based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development” Scholars gain knowledge and experience, they have more openness to new ideas, better reasoning and moral principles, and gain better communication and leadership skills. They also have more confidence and are better citizens. Those pupils are also far more likely to lead healthy lifestyles for themselves and posterity. These skills build a generation of impregnable working class citizens that not only help by being healthy, mentally strong and intelligent to provide a population that is emotionally secure and can solve its problems without contentions. A society that learns to cope with stress, depression and other mental issues without using them as an excuse. College indirectly teaches students to not only exceed academically but emotionally and socially, invaluable traits in today’s world.
28th and 29th presidents of Harvard University, Larry Bacow (current president as of July first) and Drew Faust (former president) both agree that there is still value to college education. Try claim that the biggest problem facing college is, “skepticism about the value of higher education…” They say it is important to examine college value based not on the salary of the first job, but those of alumni 10-30 years later. Which is the opposite of the consumerist approach of, “what’s the return on it in the very narrow, short-term?” Presidents Bacow and Faust have claimed American scholars are developing. In the CNBC news article of May 2018 that this interview is cited, the author, Abigail Hess, also says the facts back them up. She says there are many studies that say that college education is the surest way to, “access secure employment, higher lifetime earnings and longer life expectancy”.
Like most things, though, college isn’t available to everyone on its own. People cite expenses at the top of their list. It is true, college is inordinately expensive. However there is a simple solution. Community colleges have a far smaller tuition costs than those of universities. According the Community College Review, in 2018-19, “For public community colleges, the average tuition is approximately $4,846 per year for in-state students and $8,607 for out-of-state students (2018-19).” and also that, “For private colleges, the average yearly tuition is approximately $15,465 per year.” These numbers show that community colleges cost on average cost $6-10,000 dollars less. This decreases the financial burdens of graduates that would otherwise have crippling student loan debt.
Scholarships also provide money towards educational costs, some cover Room and Board, while others cover tuition and textbooks. In 2017, $46 billion dollars in scholarship and grant money was given to students by the federal government and universities, according to Max Fay for Debt.org. He makes sure to differentiate that grants are based on needs rather than achievement. His article continues to talk about the different types of aid: Merits, needs, athletic, career, minority and college specific based scholarships, that help students get the higher education needed to succeed.
As college is under intense scrutiny, it is important to recognize the obvious value higher education still has for youth. With jobs in high demand requiring a degree, the social and emotional benefits of going to school, coupled with paths of aid and assistance for those who are in need of have qualified themselves through achievement, the world needs qualified and educated workers to tackle a growing world market and to compete on a global stage with countries who are cranking out workers by the millions. Higher education leads to a better life fiscally and a healthy life. So yes, college is worth it.