Not going to college, that’s what!
College is expensive. There is no way around it. Between classes, housing, books, and food the cost starts to stack up pretty quickly. The average student in the United States graduates with about $25,000 worth of debt. That is a pretty good chunk of change for anyone, but can be especially daunting to a prospective student or recent grad. A lot of times it sounds easier to skip the college process in favor of working your way up the totem pole. But the reality is the path to the “American Dream” has changed a lot in recent years and statistics show that you don’t always get to climb as high as you’d like to.
Not going to college can be just as expensive. This is true on an individual level as well as a national level. People without a Bachelor’s degree make 40% less than those with one. If you don’t graduate from High School, statistically you will make 80% less than someone with a 4-year college degree. How does this in turn affect the country’s financial situation? A 2012 study estimated that American youth, between the ages of 15-24, who are not engaged in employment or an education program cost $37,450 a piece, or $4.75 trillion for the 6.7 million American youth in this position. These numbers may sound a bit extreme, but there is no denying that without education American youth will earn less money in their lifetimes. When people earn less money, they spend less money, and the economy naturally suffers.
Other statistics dealing with the issue:
- A 2009 McKinsey report estimated that if Americans could raise their education performance to the level of Korea, they could improve the US economy by more than $2 trillion.
- A study from the Hamilton Project found that $100,000 spent on college at age 18 would yield a higher lifetime return than an equal investment in corporate bonds, U.S. government debt, or hot company stocks.
- Statistics show that the highest-income countries have the highest rates of enrollment in secondary school and the smallest share of informal employment that is vulnerable to an economic downturn.
America’s educational system is not perfect. It is often overpriced and there is heavy importance placed on obtaining degree rather than mastering a subject. Junior College and Vocational schools deserve a mention as well, because they both raise potential earnings in the same way a standard university does. Despite its flaws, education is important. It equips our youth to be the leaders of tomorrow and benefits all of us on a personal and national level. Education generates a higher cash flow for individuals and pumps money into the nation’s economy.
Information taken from The Atlantic.