College completion rates vary widely along racial lines, with black and Hispanic students earning credentials at a much lower rate than white and Asian students do.
However, these gaps are often eliminated when researchers mathematically adjust graduation rates to compare students with the same high school grades and family income or poverty status at each institution. As a result, some colleges are able to reduce graduation inequities by changing policies and practices that make it easier for low-income students to attend and complete college.
While the economic benefits of earning a college degree are significant, they differ by race, gender, type of degree and program of study. As the demand for workers with higher degrees outpaces the supply of college graduates, policymakers and college leaders need to increase access and completion in order to improve economic security and equity.
Earning a high-quality college degree is an investment that pays off over the long term. The average earnings of college graduates are significantly higher than those who earned only a high school diploma, and more than double the earnings of those who never received a degree.
A bachelor’s degree is the highest level of educational attainment, and it carries with it a wage premium. In 2018, full-time workers aged 25 and older with bachelor’s degrees earned, on average, $65,400 while those with associate’s degrees made an average of $50,100 and those with high school diplomas made an average of $40,500 (see figure 1).
In addition to the wage premium, there are a number of other economic benefits that come with college degree completion. For example, the ability to think clearly under stress is an important skill that can boost your income.
Another important benefit of a college education is that it opens the door to opportunities for economic mobility. For instance, a bachelor’s degree is associated with lower rates of incarceration and higher rates of home ownership in some areas.
Nevertheless, the economic gaps between black and white households are persistent and stubborn. They are the result of a wide variety of factors, including discrimination in the labor market, lower rates of upward mobility, and historic exclusion from home ownership.
There are also differences in how individuals finance their education, with first-generation college graduates more likely to incur debt than their second-generation counterparts. This is particularly true of students who are the children of parents with less education.
To close these income and wealth gaps, the United States must focus on making higher education a ladder of economic mobility for all. This means providing students with the information, support and tools they need to make it through college. It also means expanding and re-orienting high school preparation and outreach programs to reach more low-income and underrepresented students.
Better Employment Benefits
There are many benefits to earning a college degree. These include a higher income, better job opportunities, and greater stability. Having a college degree is also a prerequisite for getting the health care and other services you need to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
In fact, college-educated workers tend to have a lower unemployment rate than those without a degree (see figure 2). This trend is especially true for those with bachelor’s degrees. The unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders was 2.6% in 2015, compared to 8.1% for high school graduates.
Furthermore, college-educated individuals are more likely to have health insurance through their jobs and their employers contribute a larger percentage of their healthcare costs. They are also more likely to enjoy a longer life expectancy than their peers who have not earned college degrees.
Despite the economic benefits that come with college degree completion, there are still significant racial inequities in the labor market. These inequities are even more pronounced for Latino/a and Black college graduates.
These inequities stem from a wide variety of factors, including differences in levels of enrollment, sectors of study, and student-debt burdens. They are particularly problematic for students of color, who are less likely to attend selective universities than their White counterparts.
Another factor that may explain these inequities is a lack of awareness of the benefits that come with college degree completion among those who are most disadvantaged. For example, many low-income students believe that a college education is not essential for their economic success or are unaware of the cost and time commitments involved.
Overall, this misunderstanding of the economic benefits of college degrees can result in a negative effect on students and families. This, in turn, can lead to low enrollment rates and lower completion rates at both public and private colleges.
However, the economic benefits of higher education can be realized by increasing college attendance and completion rates, which would reduce inequities in the labor market. To increase college enrollment and completion rates, policymakers must focus on affordable, equitable, and supportive policies. These policies will be important in promoting higher education as a key tool for economic mobility and equity.
More Job Opportunities
In the current economy, a college degree is more likely to open job opportunities that can help you move up in your career. In fact, a college graduate can expect 57% more job opportunities than someone who only has a high school diploma.
The benefits of having a college degree include access to higher-paying jobs, better employment benefits and perks and more stability in the workplace. It also allows you to have more flexibility in your career. In addition, college graduates tend to be more satisfied with their jobs than high school graduates, and they tend to be more involved in their communities.
Another advantage of a college degree is that it can help you to get a job in an industry you would not have considered otherwise. This is because a college degree gives you the skills and qualifications that can allow you to change careers or industries without having to start from scratch.
For example, if you want to become an engineer or teach in education, a college degree can be a big asset. These two majors are very lucrative and a college degree can give you the tools that you need to excel in these fields.
However, there are also some majors that do not offer a lot of job security. For example, a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, photography or film will not offer many job security options because they are not the most popular majors in those fields.
On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or nursing will give you more options in those fields and may lead to a higher salary. These fields have low unemployment rates and can provide more stability for those who are looking to transition into new industries or move up in their current one.
Despite these positive effects, many people still don’t have the resources to go to college or don’t complete their degrees. This is a problem that has implications for both the economic well-being of the country and our communities. As a result, there is much more work to be done in order to help all people receive a college education and reach their full potential.
A recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that college completion rates vary widely among racial and ethnic groups. For instance, one in 12 black students graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher, while about a quarter of Asian students and a fifth of white students achieved the same feat.
The study examined data on a sample of 430,000 students who entered a two- or four-year public institution in fall 2010. For the most part, black and Hispanic students completed their degrees at a much lower rate than their white counterparts. Nonetheless, a recent study in the journal Nature finds that college graduates tend to have better financial and non-financial outcomes than their less educated peers.
For example, according to the study, the more prestigious a college diploma is the more stable its holders are likely to be. Furthermore, a well-educated population is more likely to be employed, and earn a higher wage than those with less schooling or no education at all. The best part is that these gains are largely sustainable. The aforementioned study is just the latest in a long line of studies that have shown a correlation between higher educational attainment and improved life outcomes.
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