Is College Worth the Cost? - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1777 Words
Date:  2023-05-01


In the recent development of technology and the opportunities that the internet proposes, a significant number of people might wonder whether college is worth the cost. There are two points of view regarding the question; college education is very critical since it prepares students for their future profession or it is not essential to make students be burdened with loans to sustain their education and upkeep in college since not many graduates get their desired jobs, hence excessively expensive and needless. A significant number of students in the United States attend college after high school since it will provide a wide range of knowledge and opportunities in the future. In the current day and age, college education costs have significantly grown, which has made many families concern about its affordability that prompts questions whether it is worth the cost. This essay seeks to highlight that college education is worth the costs.

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The tangible rewards of college education have significantly grown, resulting in quantifiable returns of similar value or more. Glater highlights that the high income earned by graduates dominates the cost of college compared to high school graduates (885). Every high school graduate should make an informed choice to join college because of the tangible benefits that are associated with higher education. Each young dreamer who opts to persevere through a college education is rewarded. The cost of a college education is an investment involving perceptions and ideas. The investor is the student, which is similar to commercial investment, including securities or housing. Similarly, the student can invest in college education through debts, scholarships, or student loans, which is an investment in the future of the student and the community to which the student belongs. The benefits associated with the larger community are tremendous, although they might not necessarily be directly in the form of cash (BouHabib 489). recent information released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019 indicates that employees with a college degree earn almost twice those without. Spreading the earnings over a 40-year career period while holding other factors constant such as inflation and an increase in salary, the college graduate employee will have advanced further. While a college degree assists an individual in advancing their earnings, further advancing in education equates to more money.

Competing in the current economy and adequately preparing for the future requires a college degree. However, the choice of a college major plays a critical role in job placement and future prosperity. Zimmerman (20) highlights a college scorecard as a tool for families and students used to assist in making informed decisions in terms of affordability and value while searching for a best-fit college. The top-ranked universities are based on producing a significant number of graduates in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) fields. There is a high demand for STEM graduates in the workforce. The current labor market is significantly changing, and STEM courses present a better way of preparing the future generation. According to the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau, computer science, engineering, math, and statistics graduates top the earning list among other disciplines. Learning computer science involves acquiring creative, collaborative, and problem-solving skills that are essential in the technical career and valuable for every career in all economies. The less socioeconomically advantaged peers who attend college are more likely to gain from the advantaged colleagues by establishing social networks essential for developing social capital.

College graduates earn more than individuals with no degree. Education is considered an investment; therefore, the higher the cost of education, the higher the income. Many people believe that a college degree is one of the investments that help to attain higher income and a happy, long, and healthy life (Doyle 50). This is because education provides skills and creates awareness of the things people can do. College education informs and improves people's minds leading to more self-confidence and self-discipline. Emphasizing on health and well-being is a good value for students because it offers lifestyle knowledge that influences life quality over a life period. A college education is worth it because the probability of a poor result regarding employment and compensation is reasonably low. The unemployment of recent college graduates is at 15% and 34% rate of part-time employment rate. Economists state that the unemployment rate for college graduates will decrease after economic recovery while the unemployment rate for individuals without a college degree will continue rising. Additionally, college graduates have more opportunity costs and benefits than high school diploma holders. Research indicates that college graduates earn over fifty thousand dollars in a year while high school graduates earn approximately thirty thousand dollars; thereby, indicating a substantial income difference.

College education does not only benefit the graduates but also makes the lives of other people better. Economists indicate that there is greater civic involvement by college degree holders. Also, political theorists assert that educated citizens are beneficial to democracy. Education has a direct correlation with economic development and stability. Countries that have effective educational systems always tend to thrive. Educated individuals have high chances of personal growth and success that later on benefit their country's economy. College education intensely impacts the circulation of income and economic development. Additionally, college graduates engage in community activities like political activities, volunteering, and voting. People with college degrees participate more in the voting process than high school diploma individuals. The political system of a country is more stable, and it relies on voters to impact public government and policy. Also, educated individuals are less dependent on government programs and contribute more taxes than those without a college degree. The government programs include unemployment benefits, nutrition support, housing subsidizations, and Medicaid. This is because college graduates have more earning; hence their salaries are taxed at a higher marginal rate. Besides, college graduates focus on promoting healthy lifestyles because their behaviors contribute to form a healthy community. For instance, college graduates are less substance abusers, maintain their bodies through regular exercises, and transfer the healthy behaviors to their children.

A college education is worth it because students require personal guidance. Some economists argue that colleges are not necessary because students can access knowledge from the internet. They argue that students can go to libraries or on the internet to acquire knowledge that is equivalent to a college education. Also, they argue that colleges are bad investments because they are overpriced, and there are excessive hidden charges of expertise. Additionally, they indicate that college is a bad investment because it has unseen responsibility in guiding learners via a surge of knowledge. However, Vaught and Tara (25) argue that students rarely access free information from the internet because they lack guidance on how to access the information. Learning is having an essential platform and intelligent aid for self-actualization and not just accessing the information on the internet. Education, particularly for the most under-served populations, involves both context and content. College education provides social experience while the internet and library do not. Self-interaction amongst tutors and staff is vital to student progress and develops to modify learning experiences beyond the classes and after completion. In this era, social skills are decreasing among the millennial generation because they prefer texting than talking. Lack of social skills poses a serious threat to the future of millennial generation in workplaces. Therefore, attending college classes is vital to improving personal interaction that is necessary for career development. Also, humanity courses offer a basis of skills for personal directing learning and critical thinking. College education enables students to share new ideas and opinions by interacting with other students.

Intellectual curiosity is a critical strength of the college experience. Intellectual curiosity is an essential factor in excelling and advancing in one's carrier since a graduate can ask questions, learn, and understand their job better. Vaught and Tara (29) highlight that instead of using the example of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other successful innovators who never graduated from undermining the essence of a college education. A critical question is if they never attended college at all, would they have invented the new ideas, would they have the network of friends, or would they afford to give opportunities for others to test their prototype before applying in the actual world. Therefore, such experiences are not measurable and are rarely incorporated in criticisms of a college education. Intellectual curiosity is vital in the economy during the transition to economic producers.

However, contrary, the majority of college students graduate with debts. The rising tuition fees for a 4-year college course increased by about 200% between 1988 and 2018. The cost of living significantly increased while the income of many families did not increase at a similar rate. This has left a significant number of students willing to acquire an advanced degree to borrow. The federal government offers student loans, which puts a burden on families. Unfortunately, after graduation, the current conversation is limited to manageable debt levels. It is often tied towards a simplistic phenomenon of how much the student can pay back without defaulting (Hala 128). The current unemployment rate among college graduates in the United States is 2.1%, while the national rate is 3.9%. This shows that college graduates form almost half of the total unemployed population in the United States, which is a worrying statistics. Over the years, the unemployment rate among recent graduates has been increasing while the overall unemployment has been decreasing over the past decade. Therefore, many young people in the current economy feel that borrowing for a college education is a false promise. Some of the college students drop out, hence having little or nothing to indicate for the money and time they spent. Subsequently, the income of graduates varies significantly with the professions and the labor market; therefore, students spent a significant part of their income paying for the debts accrued during their college education. Some majors tend to have a higher chance of being unemployed, including performing arts, ethnic studies, and liberal arts compared to the STEM majors.

Moreover, the long term benefits of acquiring a student loan among the poor students are not equal to the rich in the long-run. The federal government promise that those who work equally hard will get an equal reward. However, in the student loan programs, it does not apply since the ability of graduates with outstanding loans do not equal returns to students graduating without outstanding loan arrears; the loan effects to students with debts affect them over time. The accumulation of wealth graduates defines inequality. The student with debt has less opportunity to accumulate wealth and the varied capacity for capital accumulation. However, the effect may be delayed, Elliott (23) highlights that a household of graduates with student's loans and those without have similar earnings immediately aft...

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