English Writing 300
01 October 2013
The Importance of College
Higher education can be very beneficial to the individual and to the broader community. The common conception that higher education would mean higher pay is proven to be true. Not only is college beneficial to the individuals, but in the long-run, it helps their communities as well. College-graduates can provide their communities with new businesses and a better skilled work-force. Therefore, it would be an advantageous for people to attend college as it will promise a brighter future.
College education was said to be beneficial even in the earliest years of American history. One of the many people who advocated college was Thomas Jefferson, “The less wealthy people… by the bill for a general education, would be qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to exercise with intelligence their parts of self-government…” (88). His writings about education has shaped the early decades of America’s schooling system. He thought that education would help to ensure the equality of all people in the country. Higher education was thought to be beneficial to early America because it was supposed to preserve the nation’s democracy. Schools like Harvard in 1636 and Yale in 1701 strongly approved of a good education. The colonies of America directly supported many of the early colleges (Rudolph 492).
In the 1950s, The Truman Commission on Higher Education helped push the community college movement. They said that education would promote “equal liberty and equal opportunity to differing individuals and groups” (Ostar 168). This group wanted the citizens of America to be able to understand their rights and duties in the democratic nation.
Typically, today’s belief about college is that it provides better economic benefits. These benefits could be higher status jobs and better pay. These beliefs stem from many sources. Every year, newspaper and television would feature stories about the current college graduates and their future jobs. These stories contribute to giving the public the idea that college is about success. President Bill Clinton gave a speech at Princeton University about the significance of going to college. He proclaimed that a higher education would lead to better individual economic interest. He continues to say that “Two years of college earn a quarter of a million dollars more than their high school counter-parts over a lifetime” (Reaping 20). Policymakers encouraged people to attend college when they allowed forty billion dollars over five years to be used for better development of education. Because of all the publicity associating with better pay, many Americans now believe the same.
There has been research to confirm the views of higher education and higher pay. Schultz, Becker, and Mincer formally proved the relationship of the two. Becker said investments in human capital would increase in value as the individual’s skills increased. Education was said to be an investment that would later return with positive outcomes. Leslie and Brinkman estimate that mean rate of return to obtaining an undergraduate education was about 12.4 percent (Reaping 145). Berger and Black university of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research said, “The most enduring economic impact of the universities is the increased earning power that students take with them into the job market” (NELA). They convey that college education would help the individuals throughout their life. They would contribute to the nation by starting new business with a better labor force.
Better education may also have a beneficial effect on civil society. Civil society could be strengthened by community involvement and organization that helps keep communities together. It is thought that higher education prompts people to volunteer, donate to charities, and overall help their community. It is estimated by the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center that...
Cited: Jefferson, Thomas. The autobiography of Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1790: together with a summary of the chief events in Jefferson 's life. New York: Dover Publications, 2005. Print.
"NELA." NELA. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2013.
Ostar, Allan W. Colleges and universities for change: America 's comprehensive public state colleges and universities. New York: AASCU Press, 1987. Print.
Reaping the benefits: defining the public and private value of going to college: the new millennium project on higher education costs, pricing, and productivity. Washington, D.C.: The Institute for Higher Education, 1998. Print.
Rudolph, Frederick. The American college and university, a history. 1st ed. New York: Alferd. A. Knopf, 1990. Print.
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