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Is a college degree worth it?

UC President Napolitano published the following article on LinkedIn on Tuesday, Aug. 21 on the value of a college degree. 

The success of high-profile entrepreneurs without college diplomas — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, among them —has fueled the debate over whether college is a necessary ingredient for a successful career.

Let’s put that question to rest.

When it comes to preparing millions of Americans for the workforce and lifting generations of young people into financially secure futures, no single institution has been more effective in the history of this country than colleges and universities. It remains the surest path to achieving the American Dream.

Consider the earning power of college graduates. Americans with four-year college degrees earn 98 percent more per hour on average than people without a degree. Over a lifetime, bachelor’s degree holders earn 31 percent more than workers with an associate’s degree and 84 percent more than those with a high school diploma.

College graduates are also less likely to struggle with unemployment. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the jobless rate for those with a high school education is twice that of people who have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Of course, a college degree by itself is no guarantee for a successful career. That accomplishment still requires hard work, perseverance, the courage to take risks and the ability to recognize — and seize — the right opportunities.

But a college education does equip people across the socio-economic spectrum with the skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive economy. It is a launching pad for life. Public institutions in particular remain the most effective engines of upward social mobility this country has ever seen.

Read the rest of President Napolitano’s article on LinkedIn. (LinkedIn membership not required to read the article)

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