The Value of a College Education

Essay by SmartChicA+, April 2006

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"The value of a college education has continued to increase over the last two decades, as the gap between earnings for graduates with bachelor's degree and those with no more than a high school diploma widened. In 1980, bachelor's degree holders earned 60 percent more than workers with only a high school diploma. More than 20 years later, the income gap has increased to a nearly 88 percent disparity."(Presidency, 2004, p.35) Sometimes the value of a college education is unquestionable. Would you trust a Medical Doctor who had never attended medical school for a major surgery, or ask a Lawyer to defend you in court if he or she had never been to law school? The majority of people would answer either question with a resounding "NO!" The not so obvious values of a need for an education would be taken at face value on a case-by-case basis. For example, could the job be done with on the job training or is a degree required? Is the Manager of a local McDonalds required to have a degree or would on the job training prepare him or her for that position? Then again, to be the CEO of Microsoft would most likely require many years of training in the classroom to learn the program and eventually be qualified for the position.

Will the cost of further education bring a better monetary return than a few years of work experience in the same field while using the degree in the job market? Will the graduate be paid more for having obtained a degree, or would the individual be better off not attending college and getting work experience? According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Commerce, "Earnings increase with Educational level" (p. 2). Based on the totality of this...