Note to Editors: CU-Boulder has joined with the U.S. Department of Education, the American Council on Education and other organizations to participate in "National College Week" Nov. 15-19. The goal of the campaign is to inform the American public that with the proper academic preparation and informed financial planning it is possible for Americans to achieve their dreams of a college education.
Each year, due to changing demographics and marketplace demand, more and more students contemplate whether or not to attend college. While circumstances are different for each person, everyone should take into consideration the fact that college is a sound investment and that society benefits from college-educated Americans in a variety of ways.
Corporations and other organizations in the economy benefit from college-educated people, especially in today's fast-paced world of information technology. According to Steven Manaster, dean of business at the University of Colorado at Boulder, "Corporations not only need workers with computing expertise, they also demand problem-solving skills that broadly address all workforce challenges."
College is a sound investment for individuals as well. Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that average annual earnings for full-time workers in 1995 were: $27,038 for a high school graduate; $44,523 for those with a bachelors degree; $55,384 for those with a masters degree; $72,099 with a doctorate; and $98,197 for those with a professional degree (e.g., doctor, lawyer).
CU-Boulder business Professor Rich Wobbekind said, "Wages have accelerated more rapidly for college grads over the past several years. In the next economic recession, it is my belief that less educated workers will suffer the effects of an economic slowdown more than higher educated workers."
However, students with a college education are not the only ones to have an advantage. Society as a whole benefits when its citizens choose to work toward a college education.
College graduates lower the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for individuals with no college experience is more than twice the rate of those with at least a bachelors degree. According to 1994 data from the U.S. Department of Education, 77 percent of people with at least a bachelors degree participated in the labor force, versus 52 percent of people who earned only a high school diploma.
In addition, Wobbekind said, "In 1999 college graduates have an unemployment rate under 2 percent. This level of education is particularly critical in preparing the workforce for the new economy."
Furthermore, many government services are made possible by college students and graduates. National statistics show that college graduates are not only less likely to rely on government social services, but are more likely to fund these programs through taxes.
A recent analysis of data collected by the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service found that in 1994, people who had attended college for at least one year paid 71 percent of all federal income taxes, while those with a high school diploma paid only 23 percent.
College graduates are also more likely to participate in other community and governmental aspects of society, such as voting and community service.
National data show that college graduates are more likely to vote than are those with only a high school diploma. Seventy-nine percent of individuals with at least a bachelors degree voted in November 1994, compared with 45 percent of those who did not attend college.
In addition, nearly 90 percent of households headed by a college graduate contributed time, money or both to service organizations in 1994, compared with only 67 percent of high school graduates. College graduates also volunteered with community service groups more than twice as many hours per week as those with only a high school diploma.
CU-Boulder, along with the Coalition of American Colleges and Universities, wants to get a three-word message out to Colorado families: "College is Possible." More information on student aid can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.colorado.edu/finaid. Information on CU-Boulder admissions can be found at http://www.colorado.edu/admissions. Additional information on how to pay for an education can be found at CollegeIsPossible.org, or from the U.S. Department of Education's special toll-free number for college information, 1-800-433-3243.