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A College Degree Really Pays Off

Posted : Thursday July 26, 2007
Created by: MSG Randall High, U.S. Army (ret)
"The 2004-2014 Job Outlook for College Graduates," an article published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicates that people with college degrees earn an average of $937 per week. People with their high school diplomas earn only $583 per week. Over the course of a lifetime, college degree holders can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more than those who do not have their degrees. This advantage is only expected to grow. In fact, the median earnings of degree holders are projected to rise considerably faster than the median earnings of those with their high school diplomas.
Education Is Worth Every Penny
You might be worried about the initial costs of your education, but your small investment now can pay huge dividends in the long run. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that computer operators, who need only on-the-job training to get started, earn about $31,070 per year. Computer programmers with their bachelor's degrees, on the other hand, can expect to earn $62,890 per year. Even if you were to attend an expensive private college and receive no financial aid, your degree would pay for itself in a matter of years.

There are many ways to reduce your tuition bill. Financial aid options, such as federal loans and grants, scholarships, and fellowships can help to ease the immediate financial strain of earning your undergraduate degree. Also, earning college credits or an associate degree can be much cheaper at a community or online college. The United States Military offers attractive tuition assistance programs for its soldiers. You could receive up to 100% tuition assistance because of your enlistment. If you perform well on standardized tests and feel confident in your general knowledge base, consider taking the GRE or CLEP tests. Many colleges offer credits for high scores on these exams.

Gain an Advantage Over the Competition
Even if you ultimately choose a career for which you do not need a college degree, having your degree can give you a leg up when competing for jobs--as can your military service. If you (a college graduate and a soldier) are applying for the same job as high school graduates, your additional education and experience immediately make you the most attractive job candidate. By combining your degree with your service, you are increasing the total number of jobs for which you are qualified and increasing your chances of finding a fun and satisfying job that you look forward to every day as well.

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