October 2012, Previous Issues

Education is expensive but it pays off later

I don’t have to tell you that college is expensive. We are all paying $25,000 per year to attend St. Augustine’s. Almost all of us will leave here with heavy loans to repay.

We are not alone; the federal government’s Credit Protection Bureau reports that, in America, total student debt now tops $1 trillion — which is more than all Americans owe on their credit cards. The average student graduates with about $25,250 in debt, according to the Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit organization that explores educational issues.

The cost of college may lead many students to drop out of school. Only about 60 percent of incoming freshmen earn their degrees in six years, according to The Education Trust, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.

We all know college is expensive, but it is worth it. Going to college helps you get better jobs and lower unemployment rates. According to Burea of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for a high school graduate is 9.4 percent but for a graduate of a four-year college it’s only 4.9 percent. That is a 4.5 percentage point difference in the unemployment rate, which means that when you graduate you will have a greater chance of getting a job than someone who didn’t go to college. You will not be in that 9.4 percent of people who are not employed.

You earn more, too, with a college degree. According to the Burea of Labor Statistics, a person with a degree will earn double or triple than somone with only a high school diploma. A person with just some college but without a degree will make, on average, $719 a week; but someone with a bachelor’s degree will make $1,053 a week. That is almost $400 extra per week with a bachelor’s degree. The person who dropped out of school is going to make roughly $37,000 a year, while the four-year graduate is going to make $55,000 a year. That is an $18,000 difference in your salary.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also stated that, between 2004 and 2014, almost 14 million job openings are projected to be filled by workers who have a bachelor’s or higher degree and who are entering an occupation for the first time. The Lumina Foundation also states hat job openings are going to grow for college graduates.

College also helps you to have a happier and healthier life. You learn things that you wouldn’t in high school or just on the street. It is easier to have conversations with professionals if you are someone with a higher education. You get to meet people and from all types of background, cultures, religions and experiences, which expands your knowledge and just not your book learning. Turning in assignments and projects on time makes you organized and makes you manage your time better and be responsible.

In summary, college is a good investment. As former president John F. Kennedy once said, “In our democracy every young person should have an equal opportunity for higher education, regardless of his station in life or financial means.” (College Power Bulletin).

— Deangelo Barber