Higher Education: A Wise Investment
The world is constantly changing, and people are changing with it. Even more, people are those, who create an impulse to alter the environment around them. That is why every person needs to have and use the possibilities to grow intellectually and receive the best tuition, because everyone has his/her own inner power to make the world better. According to a contemporary model of a liberal society, humans are placed in the center of the planet around them. They are not just observing what is going on, but also participating. They have the right to express their opinion. These ideas might seem to be not very related to an educational process. However, a basis of such concepts like a freedom of speech, a critical thinking and self-respect are formed at school and polished at higher educational institutions (Bronfenbrenner).
Studying at the university or college is efficient for liberating the consciousness and developing the creativity of young people. Every person has a unique individuality. Thus, investing into a higher education might lead to efficient results in this sphere. The universities and colleges are considered to form free-thinking members of the democratic society. They will succeed in the further adult life and make the community around them better (Sokol).
The tuition costs a lot; and not many people in the United States can afford it. The question is whether everyone needs it. There are many people that do not want to work as clerks at the offices or become scientists. It is possible to say that they do not need any higher education. From another perspective, higher education is another way to develop intellectually and culturally. It does not matter what the future professional plans of a person are (Bevilacqua, Giannetto, and Matthews). Even though the issue is worth a long discussion, I think that higher education is a very good investment for a number of reasons.
Main Reasons Why Higher Education Is a Wise Investment
The price of studying at the university or college is big enough to make the majority of the middle-class families take a loan in the bank. They could hope that their child will find a good work after the graduation. According to the information given in the article “Getting More Bang for the Buck in Higher Education,”
Students are already borrowing about $113 billion a year, more than twice as much as a decade ago, and student debt now tops $1 trillion. The federal government accounts for nearly 90 percent of all student loans and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that students will take out $1.4 trillion in new federal loans over the next decade. (D’Andrea 2013).
This statistics shows that higher education is still very popular among the Americans despite its high costs. It is necessary to note that the United States is a developed country. There are many workplaces that require a higher education to fit the standards. For example, it is impossible to work as a web-developer without a specific knowledge on the issue. It is surely rather complicated than a high school level. If there are not many professionals in the country, the company has to invite people from abroad to work for them. Nowadays, many American companies do it frequently. It supports an idea that people with higher education are needed. They will surely find a workplace after the graduation.
Having a university degree is a sign for employees that a person obtains the premium qualifications for the work. There is no need to check his/her knowledge in all details in this sphere. It also increases the possibilities for a professional growth in the company. A university degree becomes an advantage in creating an image of a successful person. It is surely an intellectual achievement.
It is a wide-spread idea that university graduates earn more during the lifetime. It may be explained by an idea that they do not work on lower positions like college graduates do. Of course, a financial well-being depends not only on the person’s academic degree. Such issues like working productivity, energy and enthusiasm as well as luck are also very important. However, having a university degree increases the chances of an individual for a quick advancement by a career ladder. The article in The New York Times includes the following:
A college graduate is almost 20 percentage points more likely to be employed than someone with a high-school diploma. Although the cost of a college degree is 50 percent higher than it was 30 years ago, the increase in lifetime earnings associated with a college degree is now 75 percent higher. (D’Andrea)
Another idea that supports the thesis that higher education is a wise investment is the following one. It shows employees and other people that the person with the degree is committed and knows how to set and accomplish goals. It addition, to have a degree shows that the person is able to work systematically while gaining the new knowledge and passing exams successfully.
It might be incorrect to analyze the advantages of investing into higher education only from a personal economical point of view. It is necessary to note that it abolishes such serious problems in the society as a total ignorance, a fear of strangers, and their culture. Increasing an educational level of people is the best way of preventing racism and crimes. An educated person will not kill for fun, because he/she understands the value of the human life. He/she will be a better citizen that will help the poor, because he/she has an idea about humanism. People become better, no matter whether they are being skilled workers or professors. The humankind has made a long way from the ancient times to the 21st century and gained much knowledge in all spheres. It should be understood by everyone. This knowledge broadens the mind and creates a good basis for a further progress of human thoughts.
Higher education is an attribute of a high social status. It can be called an achievement, in other words, and the prestige of the university degree attracting many people. The government gives to citizens a possibility to go to the university without paying all the money for the tuition as a reward (Nola and Irzik). This can be seen in an example of the U.S. army and the desire of people to get higher education. It is another argument that supports the importance of investing into the university degree.
The U.S. Army: Supporting the Prestigious Status of Higher Education
It is necessary to describe the overall situation connected with an army in the United States. It is the U.S. Military that faces numerous problems. The main problem it meets with is unwillingness of young people to serve the country and the lack of financing. That is why the military saves money, reduces some expenses on other issues, but leads an active advertising and promoting campaign. All this has made to create a new positive image of an American soldier. It should attract volunteers to the army.
Re-branding of the U.S. Army is a main issue that managers want to achieve in their advertising and promotion campaigns. It targets mostly the young men from 18 to 24 years old that have been brought up on the TV culture. When those young men are asked to fill in the questionnaire, they describe the army as something with the dog soldier work, obstacle courses and in-your-face drill officers. The Army tries to make it more transparent for the American public. It creates an image of a strong young professional patriot, who goes to the military to serve the country.
The situation with the lack of volunteers is so difficult, that the Army introduced a special army experience tour. The officers visit high schools on a recruiting truck and talk about the possibilities the military service can give to students (Baron).
However, an issue that is connected with a problem of higher education is not the popularity of the military service. The main point that underlines the importance and prestigious status of the university degree are the perspectives the army opens for a young recruit. The military service gives a wide range of social opportunities for young people from lower classes. After the army, the person is able to get a higher education at a lower price. The person receives a good and cheap healthcare and a possibility to buy a house. That is why the advertising campaign targets high school and college students, mostly in the southern states. In these regions, there are more immigrants like Hispanics and blacks. According to the state program, such immigrants will be able to become the citizens of the country after the military service.
The marketing strategy the army of the United States uses depends on the economic and social status of the target audience. The state program aims at increasing the popularity of the military service among people and promise to provide them with various profits in future. It is one of the most important features making the army so popular among young people of the lower class and immigrants.
It is necessary to note that those young men who go to the army do not really have many opportunities to make their lives better to choose from. They do not have other ways to get education and social profits. As it has been mentioned earlier, higher education costs much even more for middle-class families. This sum is too much for a poor immigrant family or just for a family with many children.
In fact, the soldiers that can be compared to customers do not have a choice. It is similar to arriving to the store where there is an only model of the mobile phone available. There is no competition at all (Garamone). The price for this mobile phone is extremely high, but it will be certainly bought. There is a lack of mobile phones. This example can be easily compared to the military. In reality, the army is a monopolist in its sphere. It is quite logical, because it is impossible to have several armies in the country. It might cost too much and lead to a breakup in the country in case some political problems arise. However, it is the only way to make the life better for a big number of young people.
Main Reasons why Some Think Higher Education Is not a Wise Investment
Many college and university students complain that they need to take too many obligatory courses being not related to their major ones. The students have been writing petitions and discussing this question for many years. However, the majority of higher educational institutions create curriculums with general studies. Higher education supposes that a student will learn many disciplines on the higher level to become not only a professional, but also a well-educated cultural person (Dann).
Many people claim that the university level is unnecessary for them. There is not much information about the major studies and too much information about philosophy, literature, rhetoric, and other general issues (Conerly). Even though I do not agree with the statement that there is no need to take the courses being not related to the one’s specialization at all, I will try to compare some arguments from both sides to make a situation clearer.
The general education has an obvious advantage. It gives the all-round knowledge in different spheres of science and art. It is difficult to disagree with this argument because the basic knowledge in languages, art, and history is not redundant for engineers and managers. Perhaps, those who are good in programming have neither the desire nor much talent to learn foreign languages or even write essays in their own. They have a different way of thinking. In their logical world of codes, there is no place for a verbal beauty. The problem is that even great programmers need to communicate with people, write emails, and love writing letters to their girlfriends without mistakes as well as work abroad. Sometimes the knowledge of English is not a treatment for everything. That is why the universities make language disciplines obligatory for all students.
According to the article “Don’t Buy the Hype, College Education Is Not an Investment,” the majority of university graduates do not know much neither in their profile, nor in general subjects.
More than a third of recent college graduates had coasted through without adding anything to their human capital. Reports that employers often find graduates applying for jobs to be weak in basic skills are numerous. If a college degree were a regulated investment opportunity, it would have to bear the standard warning that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. The future won’t be similar to the past for many college graduates and telling young people that college will be a good investment is careless and irresponsible. (Leef)
There is a universal counter-evidence to this statement. There is always a possibility for self-education. Nowadays, there is no problem in finding information in the Internet and even in taking online courses. As a proverb says, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Students should always be motivated to learn something (Conerly). They know for sure that they have to be good in their specialty because it is their future profession. However, they really do not understand why it is necessary to learn French if they can communicate perfectly in English. They do not intend to work in France. The lack of motivation makes those obligatory general courses ineffective. Thus, in the end, both professors and students lose their precious time.
Another argument for attending the courses that are not related to the profile is that they teach students to think critically. It makes the brain work harder if a student needs to master a subject being not his or her initial specialization (Grove). However, this theory has more disadvantages than advantages in practice. Firstly, the ability to think critically does not depend upon the subject the person is learning. The only thing that is important is a process of learning and mental abilities to compare facts and make conclusions. Secondly, it often leads to serious psychological problems. If the person is a talented musician, and he/she is bad at mathematics, but still learns it, he/she constantly fails in this. It does not depend on the efforts put for learning. This state leads to depression, appearance of inferiority complex, and a decrease of self-rating.
The next argument to support the idea of necessity of general studies in the university is that the variety of disciplines gives to students an opportunity to choose what they prefer more. It is good in the sense of self-determination. However, it causes difficulties with the employment after graduation (Genovese). Universities do not always filter the disciplines applicable to the real life. Students might have problems with the further professional adaptation. Time is very valuable. The majority of students want to get their profession as soon as possible.
Another very important issue, which supports an idea that extra courses are not needed, is money. Many families cannot afford paying for the tuition. The general courses are costly, obligatory for all students, and, in addition, not related to their major course. It is evident that the question of money is an obstacle for the majority of students.
The lack of money is not the only problem in the question of general studies. Another important factor is time. Many college and university students work part time or have family issues that do not allow them to spend at least four years for finding themselves. No matter how good this idea is in theory, the reality where the time and money are involved makes its corrections (Grove).
It is possible to find a college with a flexible curriculum (Education Portal). One can always choose an institution to study at. This question is important, because there is no money-and-time-back system at colleges and institutes. That is why every student needs to understand what his/her aim is; whether it is to get a more generalized knowledge, or to pay more attention to the major subject. An opportunity to take the courses being related to the one’s specialization is more practical than studying the disciplines providing the basics of everything in the world to students.
One of the main counter-evidences against getting a higher education, omitting if it is not a way for self-development but a wise investment, is that studying is not a financial operation at all. Forbes writes:
When college cheerleaders say that there is an earnings premium for graduates, they make it sound just like investing in financial instruments. “Buy this bond and you get interest payments in return; buy a college degree and you get higher wages in return.” But that isn’t the case. No one receives any payment or premium merely for having finished college. Employers do not reward workers just for having passed enough classes to earn a degree. They reward workers for their productivity. Going to college might increase a person’s productivity, but it’s neither necessary nor sufficient for that. (Leef)
In reality, the academic degree supposes that the person has done more of the individual work to get it. As a result, it might be just an advantage in the competition to gain the job. However, it is not another document that supports an idea that the person has a good professional pedigree.
It is difficult to say for sure if the higher education is necessary for everyone in the United States. The tuition costs a lot of money. The majority of students have to take a loan in the bank to finish the university. There are both advantages and disadvantages in studying at the college or university. Higher education is a good investment into the future career, because a graduate might find a well-paid job. He/she might have good possibilities for the future career growth. In addition, higher education gives to students numerous possibilities for the personal intellectual and cultural growth. It might make their lives better in future. A free-thinking, creative, and intelligent person has more chances to succeed in life than those people selecting not to continue their studies. To sum up, the well-educated citizens are the developing power of each community and every state. That is why getting higher education is a wise investment both in the individual and state senses.
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