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Why the benefits of a degree make the cost of higher education worth it

Attending a higher education institution and graduating with a degree can be one of the most enjoyable, rewarding and gratifying experiences you’ll ever have. For many young people, going to university is all about socialising, partying and not much sleeping.


However, alongside a few lessons in life and love, they’ll also leave with a top-class qualification. While some graduates struggle to find a job straight away, they still have the required skills and knowledge to succeed.

Nonetheless in the recent years, this near perfect scenario has been cast into doubt by the escalating cost of higher education. Many people have started to wonder whether paying out for a few lectures a week and the odd exam is really worth it. If you found a job straight after school and worked hard to progress and improve, would you be in a better position than when your peers finished university?

Apparently not, as evidence seems to suggest that bachelor’s degrees and undergraduate programs are still the best way to go if you want a fulfilling career and an impressive salary. So despite the spiralling cost of living and rising tuition fees, carrying on with higher education is the best option.

The value of a degree

Even though the cost of attaining a degree is higher than ever before, its value and earning capacity has stayed the same for quite some time and in many cases, increased.

In the US, the value of an average US university degree is at a near all-time high according to Liberty Street Economics. The same report also goes on to add that the time it takes for an average student to pay off their debts now is half what it was in the 1970s.

Things aren’t much different in the UK. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills revealed that on average, graduates earn around £200,000 more over a lifetime than those who don’t pursue higher education. This figure also makes allowances for the cost of being a modern-day student.

Of course, the value of a degree depends on its subject. Those who major in computer science, math or healthcare will generally find it easier to secure a good job than those with a degree in arts, social sciences, public policy or liberal arts.

Students who look at the fastest growing fields and select their university subjects based on what will offer the best job prospects stand a much better chance of finding meaningful employment once they graduate than those who do not conduct this research. Overall, all university degrees hold value, but some are much more valuable than others are.


Career prospects

While there is a fair amount of pressure to choose a degree that will lead to a strong and favourable job, the career prospects for graduates are vast.

In a study by the UK’s Office for National Statistics, 95 per cent of students that studied medicine secured a job after their education. This might not come as much of a surprise, but subjects including languages, arts, technology and media were also all above 85 per cent.

Back in the US, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) says that recruiters are planning to hire 8.6 per cent more graduates in 2014 than this time last year. Degrees in business, engineering and accounting were in particular high demand.

Chance of success

Therefore, any individual looking to carry on their studies should not be put off by the initial outlay. Both the value of an education and your potential salary remain encouragingly high while the career prospects of graduates aren’t bad either. Just remember to conduct some research about your chosen degree or undergraduate program, as some are far more lucrative than others.

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