Do you want to become one in a class of millionaires? If yes, then simply graduate from college. This saying has been in existence for quite some time now and true to its power, it has managed to drive lots of people into colleges as they seek for bachelor degrees. This, therefore, forms a basis on which the essay will try and examine the true value of a college education. The fact that many people think that a non-college graduate is poised to earn less than that of a graduate has also been a driving factor for the increase in some individuals opting to join colleges. The system of higher education that is in use in America for example consists of not only the best Universities but also professors and graduate students who are well respected all over the world. This situation has with time created the notion that for a person to become successful in life, then they should at least have a college degree (Rose 24). Being a degree holder, for example, is considered a guarantee to a persons successful career path, a high paying job and even a status for those who went to the elite colleges. Such ideas have made the large population of secondary school leavers wants to join the movement of college graduates and will stop at nothing even when their scores do not allow them such privileges. There is still a number though that still have strong and valid reasons as to why they would want to join the institutions of higher learning. Many of the colleges today face serious issues which range from performance, academic and institutional problems to a point where an unprecedented crisis is on the horizon. The ever-expanding scope of higher education is arguably quite expensive. This according to Bennett and Wilezol translates to higher tuition costs and that create unattainable debts and defaults in the case of student- loans (10).
College degree or college education
This then leads to the question of what exactly the students want in exchange for the money they pay regarding college tuition fees. Well, could it be that they are in for a college degree alone or is it that they want to acquire the college education? Henderson notes that the students in colleges have inflicted upon themselves a mindset in which they seem to hold in high regard the value of their degrees more than they do for their education. Even more disturbing is how they care much about the scores that they need to attain to achieve certain scores during their course assessments. Such a mentality only focuses on the little that the student needs to learn rather than the amount or volume that he or she can learn. These trends tend to give a not so worthy indication of the result; a degree, being more valuable than the whole journey which is education. It is therefore not surprising that there is an overwhelming increase in the number of students seeking to enroll in colleges, even those whose ranks have fallen because of the quality of education that they offer. It has even come to a point where a college diploma does not necessarily guarantee a person lifetime earnings as it once did. Furthermore, students are channeled out of the universities having learned little or nothing at all. This, according to Stokes eventually translates into a job market that is flooded with millions of job opportunities that go unfilled because of the lack of a trained and educated workforce. Except for a few institutions, it is imperative to make the observation that the academic standards and the performances in the colleges and universities are declining while the costs and debts are on the increase.
Education is Worth the Investment
We must at the same time appreciate the fact that the knowledge offered in campuses have been meaningful and has even gone as far as addressing the some of the key issues in the society such as the national security, healthcare, environmental protection and even the different spheres of the economy. The worlds complexity, the different impacts that technology has had, the insecurities especially when it comes to employment, and also the ever rearing uncertainties all have in one way or another contributed to the identification of education more so higher education as the brighter future. Investing in education may just be one of the ways to achieve personal satisfaction. Arum and Roksa (50) observes that the college degrees, for instance, have the power to transform families from poverty-stricken lives to opening doors to a myriad of opportunities. The families that have a proper understanding of the value of college education are making tough choices concerning making financial investments in colleges. It has even come to a point where young people continue to enroll in colleges despite the rising costs in college education. The resultant benefits from acquiring a college education is enough to justify the volumes of money that is usually spent studying for a degree. The high costs that are incurred when attending colleges should, therefore, be viewed more as an investment whose benefits are realized later on in life. There is also the social aspect of higher education. The society is one of the indirect beneficiaries of a college education. From the recent studies, we can deduce that there is an increased correlation between morality and college education. The other benefits include the increased rates of public awareness as well as the decrease in the rates of unemployment. There are also some certain studies that have shown that there is more value in both attending and completing a college education. When the salaries of the graduates versus that of the non-graduates were compared, it was evident that those who did not finish college usually have a significantly lower wage than that of college graduates. It is, therefore, worth noting that an investment in college education is worth the money.
Challenges that face higher education systems
One of the biggest challenges facing the higher systems of learning is the increase in the number of students seeking enrollment. The enrollment rates have surpassed the institutions expectations to a point where it has created some tension on the limited resources that are needed to support and maintain the needs of the students, the faculty, and the administrators. With the significant cuts in the financial aid that was once provided by the government, the institutions are left bridge the gap by increasing the tuition fees and in the process locking out some students who cannot afford to meet the cost of education. The colleges and universities have also been forced to allocate the funds that would have otherwise been used for development of funding research projects. In the recent times, the middle-income families and students have also become a priority during the budgetary allocations unlike in the past where more money was channeled into the development of education in colleges and universities. There are also some other funding priorities such as the healthcare, and the social services which as predicted will continue to squeeze in any money that would have been set for other equally crucially sectors of higher education. Private colleges used to charge more to develop their institutions and therefore they were predominant for the wealthy. This is slowly changing with the public institutions also looking to cash in. Consequently, the increase in tuition costs is unlikely to yield much especially in achieving a better quality of education and at an affordable price shortly. Though some of the learning institutions have created projects aimed at generating income that they can use to run their institutions, they still face challenges that emanate from the government that is in the form of taxes. As such most institutions opt to prioritize cost contentment by cutting down on the number of the sponsored projects and students. The overall effects of the increase in the cost of education is the decline in the quality of education and the effects trickle down to students who eventually do not qualify to be absorbed in the job markets (Selingo 73).
College education should be a choice for all depending on factors such as opportunities, educational prowess and also financial considerations. Some individuals find different colleges appealing and should, therefore, choose the degrees in which to pursue depending on the career paths they intend to take. Also with the ever changing technological landscape, people should be left to choose whether they still want to retain the traditional model of college education or embrace the modern online version of studying. Times have changed, and we are slowly moving away from the era where knowledge was centralized, and one had to go literary into a college to be taught. With the advent of the internet, the unnecessary costs incurred in paying for tuition fees can now be considered a thing of the past. The need to still have a college degree is just one of the things that employers require of us (Selingo 86). Being successful in life though does not always correlate with our performances in the colleges but instead with our ability to do well in the real world.
Arum, Richard and Josipa Roksa. Academically Adrift. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print.
Bennett, William J and David Wilezol. Is College Worth It?. Print.
Henderson, Troy. "College Education Or College Degree?". HUFFPOST COLLEGE. N.p., 2014. Web. 25 May 2016.
Rose, Stephen. "The Value Of A College Degree". Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning 45.6 (2013): 24-33. Web.
Selingo, Jeffrey J. College (Un)Bound. Print.
Stokes, Jeffrey R. "What Is The (Real Option) Value Of A College Degree?". Quarterly Journal of Finance 03.03n04 (2013): 1350015. Web.
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