The Data Is Clear: A College Degree Is Critical to Economic Opportunity

National Experts See a Critical Connection between Higher Education and US Economy

As many students prepare to return to college, a new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and therefore the workforce confirms that the worth of college degrees is increasing. Specialists from Georgetown and Lumina Foundation say that postsecondary education has become the new gateway to the middle category and one among the foremost vital economic issues of our time.

College Degree Influences Occupational Choices

According to the study, people with a bachelor’s degree now make 84 % more over a lifetime than those with solely a high school diploma, up from 75 % in 1999. Today, bachelor’s degree holders will expect median lifetime earnings approaching $2.3 USD. By comparison, staff with just a high school diploma average roughly $1.3 USD, which interprets into $15 per hour.

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“On average, folks with more education and better attainment make more than folks with less education,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Center’s director and author of the report. “But, major and occupation matter just as much as degree level. as an example, 28 % of individuals with an Associate’s degree build at least as much as the average Bachelor’s degree holder mostly because of occupational selection.”

Building Skilled  Labor Pool Should Be Nation’s Priority 

The release of the report comes as some consultants are asking if the rising cost of college has created a higher education bubble. But, additionally, to making opportunities for a considerably larger individual earning power, increased college attainment is also quickly turning into one of the key drivers for our nation’s economy.

“The vast majority of latest jobs require higher skills and if you don’t have a university degree, your probabilities of being within the middle class are visibly diminished,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina. “There could be a high chance that you’ll be poor while not some form of post-secondary education which makes education one of the foremost critical factors in our nation’s long-term economic growth plans. A dramatic increase in academic attainment should become a top national priority if we intend to build our labor pool and beat out different countries for the jobs of the future.”

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In a separate study, the center at Georgetown estimated that by 2018, 63 % of U.S. jobs will require some kind of postsecondary education or coaching. Unfortunately, we are woefully unprepared for this reality as a nation. Today, approximately 41 % of adults have a college degree in America.

“Many different countries are faring much better,” said Merisotis. “South Korea, for example, currently has a postsecondary degree attainment rate of 58 %, a full 18 % points higher than the united states. We now stand at 10th within the world which could be a far cry from our globe-leading levels just a decade ago.”

That’s why Lumina is calling on leaders in business, education, government, and civic engagement to embrace a new national initiative called Goal 2025 which aims to extend the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 % by the year 2025. The effort is focused on increasing access and success in education beyond high school, particularly among adults, first-generation college-going students, low-income students, and students of color

“The idea of getting a high school diploma and working your way up from the mailroom to the corner office may be a relic of an earlier time,” said Carnevale. “A college degree provides bigger career mobility opportunities, greater lifetime earning power, and a more promising future. That’s the college payoff.”

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