The importance of higher education in today’s society
In today’s modern society, “would you like fries with that” is not a term that will put money in the bank. Times in America are changing and with this change money is getting harder to come by and unemployment rates are skyrocketing. The days of getting hired through connections are long gone. In our modern society employers are looking for people who have the most to offer and this is why a higher education is more valuable than gold.
According to dictionary.com a higher education is defined as; education beyond high school, specifically that provided by colleges and graduate schools, and professional schools. Higher education can also be achieved through vocational and technical schools. Education past high school is important because America is a post industrial society and being a post industrial society means that a great number of jobs are done using one’s mind instead of using one’s body. Having a high school degree in America might qualify you for a job at as a janitor where as having a college degree will guarantee that you will not have to clean up everyone else’s mess.
Obtaining a degree from a college or obtaining certification in a certain specialty is like making a very low risk investment. The money and time that is put into obtaining one of these can guarantee to produce high dividends. An article on Forbes.com, a very well known financial website, shows that the average salary for a full time worker, between the years 1997 and 1999, with a four year degree was $52,200 versus the average salary of a person with only a high school diploma was only $30,400. The article also shows the unemployment rate for a person with their bachelors degree in 2001 was 2.1 percent versus a high school graduate unemployment percentage of 4.2 percent. The differences in pay make a huge difference throughout a lifetime. If taking into consideration that both the high school graduate and the college graduate work until they are 65 the college graduate will have made $815,800 more than the high school graduate while also working four years less because of the time spent in college. That means that investing in a college degree has the potential to bring a dividend of $815,800 without even taking into the consideration the benefits that come from higher end jobs; like retirement packages, stock options, and free healthcare.
Some people might argue against higher education stating that it is too costly or hard to obtain. These people are obviously not trying hard enough. In America there are scholarships out there to help ensure people can make it through college. Filling out the FAFSA can potentially bring in thousands of dollars alone; on top of that most states have incentives for a student’s success in high school. Florida is one of the states that offer a great opportunity for students; by maintaining a GPA of just 2.7 a student has the opportunity to get 75% of their college paid for. Saying that college is impractical for cost reasons is just an excuse people make to justify why they do not go. People out there who do not take advantage of higher education through these scholarship programs are really throwing away great opportunities. There are countries around the world that do not offer higher education to anyone except the rich, that is why in America we need to take advantage of this cheap educational system.
Another reason why higher education is important is that anybody who gains an education beyond college has the opportunity for upward social mobility. A college degree is a great way to get a foot in the door at many respectable businesses. With a degree the earning potential at these places can be virtually endless causing an upward shift in class. In our country it doesn’t matter who you are, the poorest of proles can easily become one of the richest in the upper class with a good education and the right amount of work ethic. The benefits of becoming part of the upper class will include having smarter friends, being able to live in nicer neighborhoods, and having a better school system available for the kids. The benefits from the money alone should be enough to make people want to go to college after graduating from high school.
Although money is a very important reason to obtain a higher education, it is not the only one. A higher education can be both mentally and spiritually rewarding as well. There are a lot of people who will subject themselves to four years of college and thirty years of student loan debt for a job that will barely put food on the table. These people are teachers. Teaching is a selfless job that educated people to for the strict benefit of the country. By gaining a higher education normal humanitarians can be very helpful in shaping America’s society. These teachers ensure that America will be prepared when the young students become adults. By gaining a higher education the teachers are able to pass on their knowledge for generations to come.
The knowledge gained through education will also help to keep America a huge player in the international scene. A survey done involving 601 government officials, business leaders and college deans found that 97 percent of them thought that higher education is important to the well-being of the American society. The world is always changing and in order to be at the head of these changes we need people with higher educations to be the ones making the technological breakthroughs, we need our doctors to be the ones who can make the delicate medical procedures, and we need our politicians to be able to make crucial domestic and foreign policy decisions that will keep us at the top. Without these educated people the American society as we know it would be in trouble. Education is one factor that differentiates a third world country from a global super power.
Higher education can be considered a great tool for everyday life too. People who have a higher education are easier to talk too. No one likes to admit it but there is a stereotype about drop outs and high school only graduates, the stereotype is that they are unintelligent. Most people would rather hear the lectures of a graduate then the rants of the unintelligent. By having a degree a person is able to show that they are qualified to talk about the subject of their studies.
It would be ignorant to say that it is impossible to succeed in life without having a higher education. Bill Gates, for example, founded Microsoft with a couple of friends in his garage after dropping out of college. Today Microsoft is one of the biggest Multinational cooperation’s in the world and Bill Gates is one of the richest men on Earth, his net worth being about 58 billion dollars (Luisa Kroll). Most of us, however, are not in the same boat as Bill Gates and that is why there is a need for higher education. By having a degree in anything the opportunities for a job increase exponentially. Coming out of high school there are few jobs that offer better than minimum wage, having that degree from 4 years of college or even having that certification from a vocational school can allow people to get jobs as doctors, lawyers, teachers and so much more. The degree helps to even the playing field between a normal person and those who are similar to Bill Gates. Having an education might not have been important in the creation of Microsoft but it is definitely essential today to the well being of the company and its financial future.
To conclude, having a higher education in America is important to both the individual and the state. Having a higher education ensures that a person will be able to get and maintain a job that is both financially and socially rewarding.