College bachelor’s degree 50 years later


Philip Zoppi – General Assignment Reporter

A high school degree is becoming less and less valuable in today’s society. But a college degree in today’s society is practically the equivalent to a high school degree 50 years ago.

Deborah Newton, the Associate Dean of the School of Education at Southern, has seen a shift in what level of education is required to even be considered for some entry-level jobs.

“It used to be high school education was the standard for employment,” said Newton. “We’ve made this shift in our culture that everyone should go to college.  Some entry-level positions will even advertise their job openings as college degree preferred.”

It is almost impossible to even live in today’s culture without a college degree. It is too challenging to make enough money to not only support yourself, but possibly have to support for a family.

According to US News, people aged from 25 to 32 that are full-time working college-degree holders make $17,500 more than for those with high school diplomas only. Sure, high school graduates that go into the workforce immediately after school will have a head start on college graduates, but eventually college graduates will catch up.

US News only predicts that college graduates will earn more and more than just high school graduates as more people graduate from college.

To illustrate just how much the times have changed, US News also had a fact that said today’s high school grads only earn about 62 percent of what their college graduate peers earn. Just in 1965, roughly 50 years ago, that number was 81 percent.

A big problem is some people do not know what they want to do after they get out of high school.

Newton knew exactly what she wanted to do from a young age. That was becoming a teacher.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was seven years old. With me, it was always ‘I’m going to college,’” said Newton.

Newton was fortunate enough to know what she wanted to do early on, but not everyone is like Newton.

When a student does not know what they want to do, sometimes they avoid college because they cannot afford it.

According the Huffington Post, more than 40 million Americans have student debt. Student debt is a huge problem in this country and can sometimes be a deterrent for people wanting to obtain a post-secondary education.

One of the solutions to making college financially accessible for everyone, so that everyone has a chance at a college degree, is making community college free.

President Barack Obama has proposed this and it could be a great idea.

The statistics against people who only obtain their high school degree and not college degree are alarming.

Everyone should have an equal opportunity to go to college so that everyone is on an even playing field.

Community college being free for everyone may or may not happen, but it could provide a way for people who cannot afford college to get the skills and experience they need in today’s society.

Photo Credit: John Walker

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