Benefits of a college degree statistics

Fulfilling any dream in life starts with a good college education. You can get into high-paying jobs, buy a house, and fulfill all your wishes only when you have a college degree. 

Students with a college degree have been long known to have better employment prospects and earning potential. Studies show that bachelor degree holders have double the chances of getting better employment scope for the high school degree holders and are known to earn as much as $1 million additional income over their lifespan. 

Studies conducted in the year 2019 show that bachelor’s degree holders of 22-27 years of age had an annual income of $44,000, whereas it was $30000 for the same-aged high school graduates. The bachelor’s degree holders have a 47% chance of getting health insurance with their employers contributing 74% more for health coverage.

In this article, we will look at the benefits of a college degree and lifestyle choices that you need to contemplate while making this decision.

Benefits of a College Degree

  • College gives better job opportunities.
  • Higher education leads to higher income.
  • Job security with a college degree.
  • You get a chance to build a specialized career.
  • A college degree enhances your self-esteem and marketability.
  • It is advantageous for your family.
  • A college degree is a good investment for your future.
  • It helps in personal growth.
  • Job satisfaction.

What is the Benefit of Going to College?

1. College gives better job opportunities.

People with college degrees get numerous career opportunities. Studies show that the employment rate is highest (86%) for those who have completed higher education. Compared to them, high school graduates had an employment rate of 72%. This is more than those who haven’t completed high school for whom the employment rate is 59%. In the case of adult females, 83% of females with a bachelor’s degree or higher degree were employed compared to 41% of females who had not completed high school.

2. Higher education leads to higher income.

This is the higher education benefit that is one of the strongest motivations for most people to opt for it and get a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. All such levels of degree, are commonly opted for to learn better skills and hence, get higher pay. The field in which you work decides your earning potential. For example, a person having a master’s degree in business or engineering gets higher pay than the one having a master’s degree in nursing or education even though nursing and education are highly demanded professions.

Though there is a difference in income based on gender and race, it is a college degree that significantly enhances one’s earning potential.

State Higher Education Executive Officers Association’s national report indicates that the average annual income of bachelor’s degree holders is more than $50,000. Those are having a higher degree such as a master’s doctorate or professional degree secure jobs paying them over $70,000 annually. But high school graduates just have an average annual income of $30,000. This shows how important a college degree is if you really wish to earn more.

3. Job security with a college degree.

People who enjoy the privilege of higher education benefits are more valued in their jobs than those who don’t have one. In case there is a need for a layoff, those having lower qualifications or degrees are mainly targeted. Studies have proven that during a period of economic recession, those with a high school diploma having fewer skills suffer job cuts. 

The unemployment rate for 25-34 years old bachelor’s in a survey conducted in 2015 indicates that 8.1% of high school graduates were unemployed. Only 4% of bachelor’s degree holders of 25 years old or more lived in poverty than 13% of high school graduates in a similar situation.

Thus, college degree advantages include job security for the degree holder because they are very less likely to face unemployment for a longer duration. Investing in higher education will reward you as well as the firm you are working in, in the long run. Job security provides job satisfaction, which helps you to have a peaceful life. Apart from just job security, college degree holders tend to enjoy greater benefits besides providing you with a chance for pursuing a career that keeps you motivated and inspired.

4. You get a chance to build a specialized career.

High school degree holders are less likely to pursue a higher degree because they are 3.5 times more prone to poverty than bachelor degree holders. Going to college benefits candidates by enhancing their value as well as helping them in pursuing their dreams.

The evolving job market demands the need for skillful people to be in the job sector. The fast-growing fields such as education, technology, and service sectors like healthcare and banking always need individuals who have a certain set of skills to perform well in their respective jobs. The broad range of skills that they acquire in the college ensures that students are in a position to accept unexpected challenges and opportunities that they might encounter in their jobs. Thus, you can pursue a career that keeps you inspired.

5. A college degree enhances your self-esteem and marketability.

With all the essential capabilities, students tend to have a high self-confidence that keeps them stress-free and happy. Such people tend to become active citizens, taking part in charitable activities, joining community groups as well as other educational activities, helping others to lead a similar life.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019 the varying average weekly incomes of different degree holders, portraying the difference in their marketability. Let us see the benefits of going to college statistics regarding the earnings. Those who have studied less than high school diplomas get $592; graduates earn $746; those with associate degrees get $887; bachelor degree holders earn $ 1248, and master’s degree holders get $1497. Those with professional degrees get $1861, and doctoral degree holders get $1883 as their average weekly income.

6. It is advantageous for your family.

Since higher education opens up many good opportunities for you, your potential earning increases. A reputable job has perks besides the salary, such as health insurance, travel, investment for retirement, etc. The employment benefits ensure stability for your family, so you don’t have to worry about fulfilling your needs.

The impact of education runs through generations because such families have sound economic and social status. Parents who have opted for higher education would inspire their kids for the same so that they can have a bright future.

7. A college degree is a good investment for your future. 

You need to spend time, money, and hard work to get a college degree. But everything is worth it because these will take you ahead in the path of realizing your goals. The investment never lets you down when you face huge challenges in your career path.

Statistics say that getting a college degree opens up better opportunities for you, giving you scope for earning more and thus, securing your future. The employment rate of bachelor’s degree holders is higher than that of high school graduates, as shown in the 2015 survey, which has 8.1% of unemployed high school graduates. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that bachelor’s degree holders earn 66% more income compared to their peers who have completed their high school education.

8. It helps in personal growth.

In the process of getting a college degree, you tend to face adverse situations that make you a more confident individual who doesn’t give up easily. Managing the time efficiently to get the maximum benefits is something that college life teaches you through different instances, such as completing the assignments of various subjects, taking tests, excelling in the class, etc. 

The bachelor’s degree holders earn a higher income than high school graduates. The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ survey indicates that 93% of employers are keen to hire such candidates as they have better communication styles, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking capabilities. Such job opportunities offer various perks such as health insurance, health savings account, retirement matching, etc. which ensures personal growth.

9. Job satisfaction.

Studies have shown that those having a college degree are more likely to enjoy job satisfaction for a longer period. Statistically, a job is considered a stepping stone by 86% of college graduates, with only 57% of the high school graduates having the same opinion. About 42% of high school graduates consider their jobs to be just to get them by compared to only 14% of the bachelor’s degree holders thinking the same.

This is mostly because of the numerous perks enjoyed by people who have a higher education degree and the scope they get to choose the career path they love. These are not available to high school degree holders. 

College is Important but Expensive!

We have seen in the above section clearly why college is important. But we can’t deny the rising cost of college education in the US. This is one of the primary reasons for the high dropout rates in colleges. As per the National Centre for Education Statistics(NCES) the annual cost of education for under-graduation in public institutions was $17,237 in 2016-17. In the case of the private non-profit institutions and private for-profit institutions, the same was $44,551and $25,431 respectively. 

There has been a 31% rise in the education cost between 2006-07  to 2016-17

for public institutions and 24% in the case of the private non-profit institutions after adjusting the inflation. A decrease of 11% was noticed in the case of private for-profit institutions.

How Do College Graduates Benefit Society at Large?

College graduates play a major role in reducing the economic costs on society because those who are dropouts, result in more unemployment. Degree holders increase the country’s earnings. The report by Alliance for Excellent Education shows that an amount of $18.5 billion in crime costs can be cut when the rate of males graduating from high school increases just by 5%. This will imply 60,000 reductions in annual incidences of assault, burglaries by over 17,000, theft of motor vehicles by over 31,000, and robbery by 37,000. Even murders would be prevented by 1300, rapes by 3800, and robberies by 1500.

The nation spends an average annual amount of $12,643 for educating students, and $28,323 for housing an inmate. If a similar investment were made in schools instead of prisons, there would be a significant reduction in criminal activity that would enhance the nations’ economies.

Stats about the benefits of college education indicate that If the high school dropouts are reduced by half, there will be an annual saving of $7.3 billion on Medicaid spending. This saving can be used for enhancing productivity at work, which will reduce health problems. When more skillful graduates are there in the nation, the economy will be uplifted.

If just one high school class’s graduation rate increases by 90%, there will be a creation of about 65,700 jobs, which will cause a rise in the economy by $10.9 billion. It will lead to an increase in the sale of a home by $16.8 billion and automobiles by $877 million, causing an increase in federal tax by $1.3 billion and state tax by $661 million.

Students are the backbone of the nation so they should understand the benefits of a college education. They are blessed with the potential to learn things and get into reputed professions such as medical, banking, education, aviation, etc. to serve the nation and its people. Lack of education causes a lot of burden on the economy besides causing personal loss at later stages of their lives.

Is a College Degree Still Worth It?

The rising college education cost would naturally cause a question to pop up in your mind” If it is actually worth it?” Well, research indicates that the money, time, and effort invested in a college education pays you back in the long run. This is true despite the fact that graduates also struggle in finding a good job. Here are the reasons in a nutshell, why a college education is still worth it:

10. The gap in the pay package.

Average weekly pay of $1249 can be seen in the case of the 4-year college degree holders compared to $746 earned by the one who just has a high school degree. The difference keeps on increasing in the case of the higher degree holders.

11. Earnings gap in the lifetime.

Those with a lower degree generally remain unemployed or land up in low-paying jobs, unlike the college degree holders who have a much higher annual salary and very low unemployment rate. This adds up to a notable difference in the lifetime of a person. As per the study conducted by Georgetown University, when a student doesn’t go to college, it costs him about $ 1 million in lifetime earnings. The study also shows a lifetime earnings difference of $3.4 million between the highest and lowest earning majors.

Healthcare, business, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM) include the best-paying majors whereas education, the arts, and social work have the lowest median earnings.


When you think about the worthiness of a college degree and judge its importance on the basis of the investment needed, you need to have a look at the statistics which will make all the facts clear to you. If needed, you should also check with financial advisors in order to better plan the strategy for savings for completing a college education. This will be a huge benefit for society besides benefiting yourself. Try picking up some major which interests you, so that you will remain motivated to complete your degree and contribute towards society as well as personal development.

Helen Vlasova
Helen is the co-founder of, a career guidance website for students and young professionals. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.

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