For previous generations, a college degree was seen as a given for anyone who wanted to have a successful career. However, in recent years, many have started to question this path. Given the astronomical student loan debt in the United States, which is currently estimated at $1.4 trillion, many are beginning to wonder: Is college really worth the investment?
Business owner Michelle Spitzer says, yes. An enthusiastic graduate of Hodges University, Spitzer is the owner of the number one revenue producing MaidPro franchise in the country, with five locations and more than 100 employees. “My college education paid off big time,” says Spitzer, “because it resulted in a successful business.”
Spitzer was 25 years old with an associate degree when she decided to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree. Her first homework assignment at Hodges was to write a business plan. She’d been cleaning houses for extra money while in school, so she decided to write a plan for a cleaning service. Under the tutelage of her mentor, Dr. Gene Landrum, the founder of Chuck E. Cheese, she was able to create a plan that led to the formation of a business that not only benefits her but also improves the quality of people’s lives. She credits her success to the education she received at Hodges and the attentive instruction of Landrum.
A college degree isn’t just for business owners, of course. Paul Haisman already had a degree in computer science from Illinois State University and a professional career in information technology when he enrolled in Hodges. Changing roles in his profession led him to seek a Master of Business Administration from Hodges University, and today, he holds the position of chief information officer at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
When asked if he felt college was worth the investment, Haisman replied, “My degree has helped give me the confidence and discipline to set continuous career goals and plan a path for success. It has also helped me to gain a comprehensive understanding of the competitive business environment leading to creating actionable plans and innovative approaches.”
One person who feels passionately about the benefits of higher education is Dr. Aysegul Timur, dean of the Johnson School of Business and senior vice president of academic affairs at Hodges University. She sees both long and short-range benefits to a college degree. “Looking at the research, as an economist,” she said, “education is an important investment in human capital.”
Timur went on to say because colleges create curriculum aligned with the needs of the workforce, graduates are equipped with skills and knowledge that lead to higher earnings. Additionally, students who have been through the experience of higher education are prepared to continue to improve their skills, and ultimately, their quality of life. A college degree has many advantages.
- A degree opens doors and provides more opportunities for advancement. While the average salary for a high school graduate is $30,627, a college graduate, on average, earns almost double at $56,665. Interested in earning more than double a college graduate? Keep studying. Recent polls place the average earning of a person holding a professional degree at an estimated $127,803.[i]
- College graduates have lower rates of unemployment than the general public, even in times of recession. Research indicates that while people without a high school diploma have an average unemployment rate of 11 percent, and those with a high school diploma are still at 7.5 percent, college graduates with a bachelor’s degree are at only four percent. As the education level increases, the unemployment rate decreases. Individuals with a master’s degree are at 3.4 percent, and those with a doctoral or professional degree are at just a little more than two percent.[ii]
- Better jobs equate to better job satisfaction. Better job satisfaction, in turn, means a higher quality of life.
While some might argue the value of a degree depreciates over time, Timur insists this is simply not true. Rather, a degree appreciates in value by eliminating obstacles throughout a person’s lifetime. Individuals with degrees will earn better jobs, and those jobs will lead to even better jobs, even in times when others face economic hardships.
College is not just about building skills to create more economic gain. Students also gain intellectual knowledge, studying subjects like philosophy, humanities, arts, social sciences and economics. The knowledge and skills students gain through these intellectual pursuits give them the ability to make more well-informed decisions, which, in turn, create a positive and lasting impact on society.
In short, attaining a college degree helps improve your quality of life, but it also has the potential to improve the quality of life around you. In addition to higher earnings and lower unemployment, it is clear the investment of money, time and hard work that is necessary for a degree is worth it in the long run. For more information on how Hodges University can put you on the pathway to attaining your educational goals, call 1-833-510-1915, or visit us at www.hodges.edu.