Is a college degree really worth it? Is it worth the time, money, and effort? This is a question many working professionals contemplating a return to the classroom ask themselves. Here are a few things to consider.
- Knowledge: Earning a degree definitely has benefits, and they come in all different forms. For one thing, a college education broadens your knowledge base and teaches you to think more critically and communicate more effectively. That’s a big plus in the working world.
- Advancement: A postsecondary education can prepare you for higher-paying careers that require more advanced skills.
- Opportunity: Your university experience will likely expose you to career opportunities you didn’t know existed. You may enter college with one career goal in mind, but after completing your studies, decide on something completely different.
- Security: A college degree—whether it’s a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree—can provide a measure of job security. When economic times get tough, employers are more likely to retain workers who have the skills and knowledge that come with a college degree.
Still up in the air about returning to school for an advanced degree? Here are 10 facts about higher education from the National Center for Education Statistics that you may not be aware of:1
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- It’s expected that more than 20 million students will attend U.S. colleges and universities in fall 2020. That’s up from 15.3 million in 2000 but below the peak of 21 million reached in 2010.2
- Since 1979, the number of enrolled female students has outnumbered males at colleges and universities.3
- 2020 enrollment at four-year institutions is projected as 13.3 million, while 6.7 million students will attend two-year institutions.4
- It’s projected that 12.3 million college and university students in the fall of 2020 will be under the age of 25, while 7.8 million students will be 25 or older.5
- A projected 1 million associate degrees, 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees, 780,000 master’s degrees, and 182,000 doctoral degrees will be awarded during the 2018-2019 school year.6
- In 2016, 70% of students enrolled in college immediately after graduating from high school.7
- The number of black and Hispanic students attending colleges and universities has been increasing. In 2000, black students made up 11.7% of all students; that percentage grew to 13.7% in 2016. Over the same period, the percentage of Hispanic students grew from 9.9% to 18.2%.8
- The average price for tuition, fees, room, and board was $17,237 for an undergraduate at a public institution in 2016-2017; $44,551 at a private, nonprofit institution; and $25,431 at a private, for-profit institution.9
- Of 25- to 34-year-olds who had a bachelor’s degree or higher, 78.8% had year-round, full-time jobs in 2016. By comparison, 72.3% of those with associate degrees had full-time work, as did 69.5% of those with some college education, 68.9% of those who completed high school, and 60.1% of those who failed to earn a diploma.10
- In 2016, those aged 25 to 34 who earned bachelor’s degrees and worked full time, year-round earned a median income of $50,000. That’s 57% higher than those who received a high school diploma; they earned a median of $31,800.11
Clearly, postsecondary education attracts a broad spectrum of students and offers many benefits. But how do you conduct a college search? Start with a list of colleges and universities that offer programs in your field of interest. Focus on accreditation; good colleges and universities will have earned it. And look for the types of programs that match your lifestyle. If you’re a working professional, an online education may suit you best. Earning a degree online gives you great flexibility and allows you to balance work, family, and school responsibilities. You can take as many or as few online classes as your schedule allows each semester, and you can study anytime, anywhere, day or night. Some programs may offer fast-track courses that allow you to complete your degree more quickly.
Walden University is an accredited online college that offers a wide range of degree programs in business, health sciences, counseling, criminal justice, human services, management, psychology, education, public health, nursing, social work, public administration, and information technology. The courses are designed with working professionals in mind and can help you embark on a new career or advance in your current career. Most important, you can tailor your schedule to meet your needs. It’s one more way to earn the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in today’s highly competitive business world.
1 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372
2 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_105.30.asp
3 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_303.10.asp
4 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_303.30.asp
5 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_303.40.asp
6 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_318.10.asp
7 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=51
8 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_306.10.asp
9 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_330.10.asp
10 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_502.30.asp
11 Source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cba.asp
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.