Why Should I Attend College?

Students attend college for many reasons: to explore their interests, learn about new subjects, meet new people, and prepare for a career. College is a way to achieve your dreams and goals in life. Today’s college degree is like yesterday’s high school diploma: it provides more options for what you can do in the future. College graduates have more career options, typically have higher salaries, and make more money over their lifetime.

Is college worth it? Even if you can afford college, is it a good idea? No matter how much financial aid you get, college will still require a sacrifice of money, time and effort. Kids who go straight to work after high school have more spending money sooner. Does college give enough bang for the buck? The answer is “yes” for many reasons including money, job insurance and personal growth. In terms of money, college clearly pays. The difference in earnings between college graduates and high school graduates has increased sharply over the past three decades. College graduates earn an average of $1 million more over their careers than high school graduates (see below).

Average Annual Earnings by Education Level

Education Level                                    1 Year of Earnings                     35 Years of Earnings

Professional Degree                            $100,000                                     $3,500,000

Doctoral Degree                                    $79,400                                       $2,779,000

Master’s Degree                                     $61,300                                       $2,145,500

Bachelor’s Degree                                 $50,900                                       $1,781,500

Associate’s Degree                               $40,600                                       $1,421,000

Some College, No Degree                  $37,100                                        $1,298,500

High School Graduate                        $31,500                                         $1,102,500

Non High School Graduate               $23,400                                        $819,000