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Top 10 Reasons Why College is Important

College is important for many reasons, including long-term financial gain, job stability, career satisfaction and success outside of the workplace.

A graduate wearing a cap and gown, holding up her diploma at an SNHU Commencement ceremony

With more and more occupations requiring advanced education, a college degree can be critical to your success in today's workforce. Southern New Hampshire University leaders agree that education is important, and research indicates that earning a degree can have a significant and expansive impact on your life.

Earning a college degree could help you:

1. Earn More on Average

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers with a bachelor’s degree earned a median of $524 more per week than workers with only a high school diploma – an increase of more than $27,000 per year.

If your professional career lasts 40 years, that could mean you have the earning potential of $1 million more than a worker without a postsecondary education.

2. Decrease Chances of Unemployment

In addition to the potential to make more money, earning your college degree could also lead to more career stability. According to BLS data, 5.5% of workers with a bachelor’s degree are facing unemployment, compared to 9% of workers with only a high school diploma.

3. Experience Greater Job Satisfaction

A 2016 Pew Research Center report found that 77% of workers with a post-graduate degree and 60% of workers with a bachelor's degree believe their job gives them a sense of identity, versus just 38% of those with a high school diploma or less.

Workers with a bachelor's degree or more advanced education were 70% more likely to view their job as a career compared to just 39% of workers with no college education.

4. Boost Your Financial Savvy

Working-age adults with bachelor’s degrees are 9.4 times more likely to have a bank account than those with a high school diploma as their highest level of education, according to a 2016 report from the Lumina Foundation (Lumina PDF source)

College-educated adults were also less likely to have used expensive forms of credit. Just 2.3% of college-educated adults used pay-day and tax refund loans within the last year, compared to 9.2% of high school graduates without a college education.

5. Become a Homeowner

A report from First American found that homeowners are increasingly more likely to be college-educated. In 1997, the gap between homeowners with a high school diploma versus those with a college degree was 11%, and, by 2017, the gap expanded to 20.5%, favoring college graduates.

6. Increase Your Happiness

94% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher reported being happy or very happy with life, compared to 89% of adults with no college education, according to the Lumina Foundation report.

7. Get (and Stay) Married

65% of adults ages 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or more were married in 2015, compared with 53% of adults with less education, according to a Pew Research Center report.

A degree could mean a longer-lasting marriage, too. According to the report, researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimate that 78% of college-educated women who married for the first time between 2006 and 2010 could expect their marriages to last at least 20 years, compared to just 40% of women with a high school education or less (NCHS PDF source).

8. Stay Healthier

The Lumina Foundation found that college degree holders also demonstrate healthier habits than non-degree holders.

The proportion of adults smoking daily falls significantly with an increase in education, the report states, from 20.3% of high school graduates without any college education to 5.2% of those with bachelor’s degrees and just 3.1% of workers with graduate degrees.

The report also found a strong positive relationship between educational attainment and eating fruits and vegetables, exercising and wearing a seat belt.

9. Live a Longer Life

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) recently reported that those with at least a bachelor's degree are living longer, "more prosperous lives," than those without an advanced education. The life expectancy gap by educational attainment has seen a steady growth from 1990 to 2018 – the years PNAS observed in their study.

10. Be a Better Citizen

Earning your college degree can improve the lives of those around you, too. According to the Lumina Foundation report, 40% of working-age adults with a bachelor’s degree volunteered in their community within the past year, compared to just 17% of high school graduates without any college education.

College degree holders also donated three times more money to charity than workers without any college education, were 1.5 times as likely to consistently vote in local elections and more than twice as likely to participate in a school, community or religious organization, Lumina Foundation found.

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU online degree that can best help you meet your goals.

Danielle Gagnon is a freelance writer focused on higher education. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About Southern New Hampshire University

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SNHU is a nonprofit, institutionally accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.