The value of a superior education is difficult to see in the short-term, but can become a wise and proven investment in the long-term.  Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney (591), both respected members of a non-profit organization known as the Hamilton Project, have taken the stance that a college education is worth far more than any other investment could possibly be. Despite the facts of tuition, room and board, and various other expenses and the amount of time that is required to accomplish a degree, college is a much more reliable investment for any student to make.  Despite being an uncertain investment that brings little initial gain, college is a wise investment for the long-term that can bring highly satisfactory results.

Many individuals constantly question if the promise of hard work and the uncertainty of college is worth the investment.  The fact is however that college is a guarantee that upon taking the time to learn and succeed, there will be an opportunity to earn a living after graduation based on the degree and direction a student chooses. Without a college degree a student’s earning power falls squarely on their high school education and achievements, which are often not nearly as impressive as a college education might be on a professional resume.  College can offer a greater chance at later success for the four years or more it takes to earn a degree.

The authors go into great detail concerning the average investment of just over $100,000

dollars versus the earning power of the average college graduate.  This is then compared to the

average earning power of a high school graduate. At their highest rate of pay, a high school

graduate will typically earn as much as a college graduate does when only a year removed from

school.  This comparison shows the obvious discrepancy between a high school education and a college education and the obvious benefit of the latter.

The number of loans and the mounting dollar value that college students accrue during their time in school can often seem like a giant expense that will take years to pay off. However, as Plyush Manguklya (2015) writes, even those who select majors that are considered to be less desired will earn a base salary far greater than the majority of high school graduates that never attended college. Manguklya also goes on to state that a college education does not guarantee a higher level of pay, but is able to provide more experience and resources to the average college graduate.  Without this level of education it is difficult if not impossible or a high school graduate with no college experience to be as successful.

There are many questions regarding whether or not the education purchased is the type that will benefit the student later on in life, and each one of them are valid.  According to David Leonhart (2014) statistics gathered and compiled by several experts show that nearly 98 percent of college graduates make more per hour than those who did not pursue a college degree.  This shows quite easily that college, despite the tremendous investment that is required, can be a far more advantageous payoff when those with the necessary ambition take the leap to better themselves through postsecondary education. While it is not a perfect or easy path to follow, it is by far the more preferable course to take in terms of earning power that comes from obtaining a degree.

Greenstone and Looney contend that only do those who attend college lead happier,

healthier lives, they have a better chance at attaining job satisfaction than those who do not

(596). While this is not one hundred percent true the statistics taken do not lie, nor do the results

of those who have gone on to find greater success for the simple act of going to college.

Whether or not they graduate is not a limiting factor as the authors both have gone on to state that even those who have attended for a year or more will have gained enough experience to have increased their earning power (Greenstone and Looney, 596).  This view is highly agreeable as it points out that not only are those who attend college more successful on average, but they are also far more satisfied with life overall as a result.

What Greenstone and Looney are truly stating is that for the amount of investment that is put into a college education, the outcome is worth much, much more.  It is an effort to understand how such a costly investment could possibly allow an individual to make back the money to pay off loans and debts incurred throughout the college career. However, the authors are quite adept at explaining how the earning potential of the average college graduate far outweighs the typical salary earned by a non-graduate.  College is a gateway to success that depends largely on the effort of the individual. A postsecondary education is a chance to increase the earning power of an individual and to gain job satisfaction as well as a favorable lifestyle.

The effect this has on the individual can create a ripple effect that can help to stimulate the economy.  Were more people inclined to attend college and graduate, or even attend for a year to increase their earning potential, the stimulation to the economy would be enormous. Workers would be more skilled and able to take on greater roles within their place of employment. The US economy would improve as more qualified and experienced workers graduated and went on to accept higher level positions that could keep the United States in competition with other countries in several different key areas of trade and commerce.  Through an investment in college an individual gains the ability to reshape their lives and learn what it is to be successful.

Works Cited

Greenstone, Michael & Looney, Adam. “Where Is the Best Place to Invest $102,000- In Stocks,

Bonds, or a College Degree?” Subject and Strategy: A Writer’s Reader (13th Ed.), edited by Eschholz, Paul, & Rosa, Alfred, Bedford-St. Martin’s, 2014, 591-596.

Leonhart, David. “Is College Worth It? ‘Clearly’ New Data Say.” The New York Times,

Accessed 10 Dec. 2016.

Manguklya, Plyush. “[Infographic] Is College Worth the Cost?”  The Huffington Post, Accessed 10 Dec. 2016.

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