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Is College Still Worth It? The Value of Higher Education

Is higher education still worth it? This is the q​uestion on the minds of many students and families, especially as the cost of college and other expenses continues to rise.

The short answer is…yes! While higher education is a big financial commitment, research shows that earning a degree still yields an excellent return on investment (ROI).

Let's dig a little deeper into a few reasons college can benefit your financial future:

College-Educated Individuals are Earning More

College graduates typically earn more over their lifetimes compared to non-college-educated workers.

Experts found that in 2020, workers with a college degree earned nearly $5,000 more after graduation than those with only a high school diploma. By mid-career, they were out-earning non-college-educated workers by $18,000!

While they may enter the full-time workforce later, college graduates often have higher starting salaries than peers who only completed high school. This initial “leg up" can compound over time as college grads receive raises and promotions throughout their careers.

Higher Education Opens Doors to Employment Opportunities

In addition to earning more, college-educated individuals are also experiencing lower rates of unemployment than those with only a high school diploma. In 2022, the unemployment rate for college-educated individuals was 2%, compared to 4% among those with only a high school diploma.

Many career fields require a bachelor's degree (at minimum) for entry-level positions. Earning a bachelor's degree, especially one in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM), can prepare grads to secure quality employment in high-paying, in-demand fields and increase their earning potential significantly over the course of their career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in STEM fields are expected to grow 8 percent by 2029, compared with 3.7 percent for all occupations.

Explore Student Lending Options

The long-term value of higher education is clear, but covering the cost of college can still seem daunting for many families. It's important to know your funding options, plan ahead and choose wisely.

As your caring financial partner, Wright-Patt Credit Union® (WPCU®) is here to make it easier and help you borrow smarter for college at every step!

With flexible terms, convenient repayment options and extraordinary service from the credit union you already know and trust, our student loan options can help you fill education funding gaps and pay for college the smart way.

Want to learn more about maximizing your college funding? Join us for free student lending financial learning classes designed to help you understand what to expect and make the best choices for you.