Is College Worth the Time and Money

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Is College Worth the Time and Money?

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, has been widely recognized for his talent in creating a company that totally revolutionized the computer hardware industry. There is no doubt that he is a very successful person and his net worth confirms this. Mark Zuckerberg, who designed and created the innovative social network Facebook, is another example of vision and talent coupled with effort that translated into success. What do these men have in common? They are brilliant, worth billions of dollars and they both dropped out of college.  Even though these men did not complete their college education, they still achieved success. We love success stories. We love that in America we can start with nothing but an idea, out of the garage, and become one of the richest people in the world. These Cinderella stories however are not the rule but the exception, each is one out of a million, perhaps millions. These are they that the media likes to highlight because they are the rags-to-riches exception to the rule. There are young minds now conceiving of ideas that will make them successful beyond their dreams and we should encourage their development. However, the reality is that there are many times more young minds that need the education that our colleges and universities can provide. Most CEOs of fortune 500 companies may never have attained that kind of success without the education behind them. They possibly wouldn’t even have been given the chance without a college degree. Of the CEOs from the top 100 of the fortune 500 list, 95 have at least an undergraduate degree with nearly half earning an advanced degree. While many are very successful without a college degree, what are the consequences of getting or not getting a degree on potential income?

Many people go to college, get into debt, work hard, and sacrifice other opportunities, but don’t end up getting the jobs they were hoping for after graduation. Earning a college degree does not guarantee a job. What are the consequences then of going to college and getting a degree? Why do people get into debt for something that does not give financial security? Is there something else that is beneficial to obtaining a college education? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate decreases on average as education increases. Additionally, earnings are also proportional to the level of education. The structural unemployment is not the entire problem that we see in our economy. Frictional unemployment accounts for a big part of the entire unemployment picture and that is because of voluntary decisions to work based on each person’s valuation of his own work and personal preferences. All things being equal, someone with a degree is more likely to be hired than an individual who is without a degree. But even those with a four-year education couldn’t use their diplomas to ward off unemployment in the recent economic downturn. In fact, it was the educated financial and business industry that lost their jobs first. According to the most recent statistics from Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, college graduates have a lower rate of unemployment than those without a degree, with a rate of 4.3 percent compared to 9.5 percent for high school graduates and 13.9 percent for those with less than a high school education (Farrell par.8). With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, the Economist reports that many have gotten so desperate that they are willing to work for free. Even though this has many legal and economical implications, this clearly shows that the weak labour market favours those who are willing to work for free and it benefits the workers because they can maintain and improve their skills while networking with potential long-term employers. Of course a bachelor’s degree is not the golden ticket to a lifestyle of the rich and famous, but according to the Pathways to Prosperity Project...
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