San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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January 13th, 2008


It is difficult to read a magazine or newspaper, or hear the nightly news without hearing about the high costs of going to college. Rising tuition costs often makes news in every community. We hear the message frequently, ‘education costs.’ Consequently, many individuals may falsely assume that financing a college education is out of their reach. With all of the media attention on the increasing costs of tuition, it is important to remember that education pays.

Benefits to Individual
The data for education attainment are salaries are staggering. Several studies completed by the College Board using 2005 data by the U.S. Census Bureau demonstrate the financial benefits of a college education:

  1. The average high school graduate in their lifetime will make approximately one million dollars;
  2. The average college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree will approximately make 2 million dollars in their lifetime
  3. College graduates with Master’s degree can expect to earn an average of 3 million dollars over their lifetime.

College graduates are more likely to be offered employer paid pension plans and health benefits than high school graduates. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau data in 2005 indicate that approximately 70 percent of college graduates were offered employer paid pension plans as compared to 32 percent of workers who did not complete high school. In addition, college graduates or individuals with some college education are far more likely to be offered health insurance that is partially paid by the employer. Education pays.

Benefits to Economy

The consequences of not having a well-educated community are many. In an economy that is increasingly knowledge-based, it is projected that fewer jobs requiring a high school degree will be available. Gone are the days when a high school graduate could expect to get a high paying and secure job at a local factory.

On the other hand, a more educated workforce translates into more money pumped into our local economy. Small business owners thrive under these conditions. Our community attracts potential employers and large businesses owners alike. Education pays.

An educated community means we have fewer people requiring public assistance.
The number of children receiving free or reduced lunch in our public school decreases. Less people are dependent on our local public health departments and emergency rooms to meet basic health care needs. Education pays.

A more educated community means that our public schools benefit from our increased resources. Our local schools are able to hire and retain the most qualified teachers, afford top notch text books, offer enrichment programs. Our children reap the rewards. Education pays.

The price of a college education, whether it is financed by borrowing money from low cost loans, government financial aid programs, part time summer jobs is always worth the cost.

MICHELLE POPE, Ph.D., is Presidential Fellow to Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth and a Health, Physical Education, and Recreation professor.

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2 thoughts on “CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BLOG: Education pays

  1. Michelle,

    Great article and it points out the economic power created by our investment in insuring our children get a good education. It is estimated that 7,000 kids a day drop out of school. Each year our economy is losing over $1.5 trillion in lost income as a result. Yes, $1.5 trillion. This doesn’t take into account all the other costs that society will be required to bear; public assistance, health care and the like. This is an investment we must make for our children, our economy and our national security.

  2. Speaking of education, I should have used the term “ensuring” versus “insuring.” Oops.

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