Professors open up about the benefits of a college degree
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 10:02
It’s no secret that for the past few years the American economy has been in less-than-perfect condition.
With the cost of a college education going up and the possibility of finding a well-paying job seemingly going down, the benefits of a college education seem to be dwindling. However, things aren’t always what they seem.
“The people who are more likely to be employed are people with college degrees,” David Loomis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania journalism professor, said.
“How much more likely? Twice as likely as people who have only high school education.
“The numbers show that the more education you get, at least a college education, the more likely you are going to have a job – and it’s not burger flipping.”
In a January 2013 New York Times article by Richard Perez-Pena, Benefits of College Degree in Recession, studies showed that though everyone has taken an economic hit from the recession, college graduates have and continue to fare the best. Perez-Pena used data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey to study employment trends.
“People with four-year college degrees saw a 5 percent drop in wages,” Perez-Pena said.
“Compared with a 12 percent decrease for their peers with associate’s degrees, and a 10 percent decline for high school graduates.”
The financial perks of a college education are obvious; however, financial benefits aren’t the only benefits college graduates experience.
Patrice Douglas (junior, management information systems) said college is a huge help in this troubled economy because of the “unlimited exposure and opportunities.”
“The benefits of a college education,” Douglas said, “includes educating yourself on other cultures and people in the diverse college atmosphere.
“College students benefit from the numerous leadership, travel and networking opportunities which aren’t so easily accessed without being in a college or university.”
IUP journalism professor Patricia Heilman said that, contrary to popular belief, “the purpose of a college
education is not just to get a job.”
“The real purpose of a college education is to expand your mind,” Heilman said.
“To introduce you to other cultures, other schools of thought and hopefully when you graduate college, what you’ve learned is how much you don’t know.
“So for the rest of your life you’re continuing to study and to learn – that makes you a better citizen.”
Heilman said that studies show that college graduates are more likely to vote in elections, so they’re “more active in the political process” than people who did not attend college.
Loomis said a perk of college education is simply the “habit of learning.”
“If you go to community college, if you go to a technical school, that’s the habit of learning. Universities systematize that in a way that make it almost impossible for you to forget.