Friday, February 27, 2009

Benefits of Higher Education

President Obama wants every American to commit to at least one year of higher education or training. While this makes sense in some ways, the cost of taking just one year of higher education may not be a good cost/benefit ratio.

One of my former college professors, an associate professor, told me she had been offered a full professor title if she would go back to school and get her PhD. Since she is ready to retire in a few years, and would only make $5000 more a year with the PhD, she turned them down. The $40,000 cost (minimum--does not include books and supplies) would be more than she is likely to make, after interest for loans are added. One year of college does not make you much more employable than none. The question is, will your earning power be enhanced, or will the education bills eat up any small increase you earn?

Don't get me wrong. I believe in higher education. I went from someone who would have to wait tables or work in a 9-5 factory or manufacturing job at minimum wage (Please note: There is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting tables or working factory or manufacturing jobs. They are honorable work, but often do not provide enough funds to pay the bills.), to being able to support my family with the first degree.

I have not found a masters degree to increase that annual income, though, so I don't know that I agree that a graduate degree is always a ticket to higher income. For those who desire to learn more and want the degree for reasons beyond income, I think it is a great idea. For those who are wanting a higher income, it very well could depend on what field you are planning to enter. 

Do your due diligence first and be sure the benefits outweigh the costs.

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