Professor John Van Dyke
October 24, 2014
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The idea of living the “American Dream”: getting an education, working hard at a job, having a family, and living comfortably, are images that many people strive for. It’s been embedded in our minds since we were little children that the key to happiness is having a formal/college I DON’T THINK THE / IS NECESSARY. education. Obtaining this education would unlock doors that will WOULD lead to endless joy because everything would, supposedly, be easier. There have been questions posed over the years if having a college degree actually paid off in the end, or only accumulated more debt. Those that are fortunate enough to obtain their college degree usually end up living a vastly different lifestyle than those without a college degree. The need of money, for some, and the want of a more comfortable lifestyle push many people to go to college. Even with the growing cost of tuition, many still find it beneficial to go to college and work towards a degree or degrees. The promise of the degree is that there is a guaranteed job that will pay a lot more than a job that doesn’t require a college degree. According to the Pew Research Center, “millennial college graduates ages 25-32 who are working full time earn more annually-about $17,500, than employed young adults holding only a high school diploma” (Pew Research Center). This data is just one reason why having a college degree is a benefit to a more comfortable lifestyle.
With the wavering economy, fluctuating gas prices, and the increase in food prices over the last decade, having a college degree allows for the extra wants and needs of the common individual and/or family. If the average annual income for those with a college degree is $17,500 more than the income of someone without a degree, then there is more money for a nicer home in a nicer neighborhood, the ability to travel and improve cultural education, and according to the University of Washington I DON’T SEE THIS ON YOUR WORKS CITED PAGE., live a healthier lifestyle that comes with having a four-year degree. There are certain jobs that no matter what will always require some sort of college degree: lawyers, doctors, computer engineers, architects; each of these paying well over the average annual income. These jobs are also jobs that will always be needed to keep our country afloat. Even those that have college degrees, but do not have jobs that pay six figures, are better off than those without a college degree because there is a guaranteed higher salary and career longevity. A college degree allows for movement toward successfully making the “American Dream” become a reality.
“On average, a four-year-college graduate earns almost twice as much as someone with just a high-school diploma” (Morris). This statistic paints a sad image of someone who is trying to live day-to-day on just a high school diploma alone. With the increasing rates of gas, milk, and rent a person with only a high school diploma would more than likely struggle to meet their basic needs. It’s not shocking to know that many people with just a high school diploma end up using some sort of government assistance because more people with just a high school diploma are unemployed. In 2009 COMMA, 9.7% of high school graduates were unemployed, compared to those with at least a four-year degree who had an unemployment rate of 4.6% (Maynard). Not having a high school diploma means that less money is coming in, and there is an increase in struggle to make day to day DAY-TO-DAY living easy.
Unemployment rates are just the beginning of the issues that not having a college degree can have. There are long term LONG-TERM problems that come with only holding a high school diploma. In the magazine University Business, it states that today’s bachelor’s degree holders can expect median lifetime earnings approaching $2.3 million,