College Earns You More than a Degree
By Christine A. Shelly

You’ve read about the correlations between the amount of education an individual attains and his/her lifetime earnings. Maybe that nugget of knowledge is what spurred you on to complete your degree.

But did you know that college graduates are also more likely to volunteer?  Or that they’re more likely to vote?  Would you believe they’re likely to be healthier?

Having a job and earning a higher wage is valuable.  But there’s value in a college degree that extends far beyond unemployment and earnings potential.  

People with a college degree tend to have a better quality of life.  Research conducted by the College Board, “Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society,” examines the broader payoffs of education.


Taxes, Voting and Volunteering Increases
One measure of a higher quality of life is the extent to which members of a society are engaged in their civic duties.  These are duties like voting, paying taxes, and volunteer service.

A college degree often means a higher salary – and a higher tax rate.  The bright side is that when you pay Uncle Sam, local, state and federal governments provide important and valuable things like better roads, schools, and community services.  A typical college graduate with a full-time job pays almost 80 percent more in federal, state and local taxes than a high school graduate.

Perhaps paying more in taxes drives a sense of civic duty.  College graduates are also more likely to vote.  In the 2004 presidential election,  75% of college graduates aged 25-44 voted.  Their peers with a high school diploma turned out at 49%.

Nearly half of all volunteers in 2006 held at least a bachelor’s degree.  Forty-three percent of those who volunteered with an organization were college graduates; 19% were high school graduates.  


Healthier Habits
Another indicator of a higher quality of life is better health. The College Board study found that there is a relationship between educational attainment and better health at every age and income level.  

For example, of the 20% of adults who smoke, 9% are college graduates. 69%of those who hold at least a bachelor’s degree have never smoked.  

More than two-thirds of college graduates ages 25-34 exercised moderately at least once each week compared to 49% of high school graduates. Although this age group showed the most dramatic difference, the College Board study data indicated that college graduates at all levels are more likely to exercise. The benefits from regular exercise are well documented. 

In recent years, we have seen a decrease in employer-paid health care benefits and pension plans. However, where there are employer-paid benefits, college graduates are more likely to receive them. Sixty-nine percent of full-time employed college graduates were offered pension plans by their employers. Almost ninety percent participate in these plans.   
         

Parenting Professionals
The biggest beneficiaries of college degrees may surprise you. The College Board study found that children of college graduates are better prepared for school and participate in more extracurricular activities, which means they will be more likely to attend college themselves.

Children of college graduates are...
—  30% more likely to participate in scouting and art related activities than children of high school graduates
—  More active in sports - 44% participated in sports activities, compared to 18% of children of high school graduates.  


To be fair, there may be other social and economic factors that play a part in this data.  Regardless, there are a number of reasons why education is a positive investment.  From better health to a bigger paycheck, a college degree is a smart investment. 


REFERENCES:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2004
http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2008/jan/wk4/art03.htm
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5444a2.htm
http://www.livestrong.com/article/561969-does-the-education-level-of-a-parent-affect-a-childs-achievement-in-school/

#collegedegree   #educationbenefits   #highereducation  
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