The reality of further education

When first starting out in college, the last thing you want to think about is “How much will I owe once I graduate?” That is a lot for incoming students to think about while trying to enjoy their newfound freedom. According to USA Today, “roughly 60 percent of undergraduates between ages 18 and 24 enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program that have taken out student loans say they are responsible for covering more than half of the total cost of their education.” 

Not only are loans overwhelming to comprehend at 18 but even harder to deal with at 24, especially when considering further education. Because of academic inflation, about 60 percent of jobs in the United States require a higher education compared to the “26 percent of the middle class [having] postsecondary education and training” according to cew.georgetown.edu. In order to pay for loans and continue an education post graduate students must continue to work. 

However, even with a bachelor’s degree, that does not guarantee access to high paying jobs anymore, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recorded a 2017 report on about 16,000 workers with a bachelor’s degree working minimum wage compared to about 132,000 workers working below the minimum wage. 

The numbers are not so different compared to the individuals with a bachelor’s degree and higher with about 19,000 workers working at minimum wage and 164,000 workers working below  minimum wage. 

Kayla Webley, education correspondent for the magazine Time, explained how “college graduates are the type of people society needs to do things like start a business, buy homes and cars, invent thing and make babies–and people burdened with debt are less likely to make those kinds of decisions.” 

Leah Hansford, a recent college graduate of William Paterson stated her concerns with the postgraduate reality; in order to continue her education she must work but when working minimum wage on a bi-weekly income the reality can become soul crushing.      

“Though I chose my education as an investment in myself, I’ve always wondered, ‘What if I stopped going to school to work and make more money? How much happier would I be?’ At only 23 years old, I’m juggling to understand the difference between the power of money and the value of education,” she said. “What is education with no money? What is money with no education?”   

On the other hand, further education is looked at as an investment in yourself; you get out of it as much as you put in to it. 

Although this is biased because not everyone’s experience in education is the same, it does hold some truth. You are better off receiving your college degree than being left without one. 

Despite the unpredictable odds of landing an entry level occupation, a degree can broaden your horizon by allowing yourself more options to choose from and a stronger likelihood of being paid more. 

According to Time, 2017 had the highest paid college graduates ever seen. Time writes, “The average starting salary for a 2017 college grad is just a smidge under $50,000 ($49,785, to be exact)…that’s up 3% from last year.” 

Graduating college is merely step one, it is the work and dedication needed to make the best of that degree that makes the results that much sweeter.  

After thinking over if further education is worth the burden of student loans I finally realized there is no answer. Regardless, if your grind is working through school or leaving school behind to find your niche always put your all into it. The reality is that there are pros and cons to furthering your education. If financial gain is what you seek, then you can make money a million ways if you apply the same hard work you would with continuing your education. Whether you choose to further your education or not always be prepared to work smart and hard.  

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Qur’an Hansford.

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