By Daniel D’Amico, Trending Writer
Higher education has many benefits, both to the individual and society at large more generally.
Higher education benefits the individual in a variety of ways. This has to do with certain practices that are affected by it as well as certain more easily visible outcomes. For instance, people who attend a university are less likely to drink, smoke or commit crime. While this is a huge benefit to the individual, it also goes a long way towards helping society as a whole.
The Times Higher Education highlights these and other benefits in a research paper published by the department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Conversely, it speaks about how those who attend a university have higher tolerance and educate their kids better. In addition, they are more likely to vote and volunteer.
They also tend to have a longer life expectancy, greater life satisfaction, better general health and lower incidence of obesity. There are plenty of ways that these and other benefits are reflected on society at large. Certain benefits to the economy include: increased tax revenues, faster economic growth, greater innovation and labour market flexibility, while individuals profit from higher earnings, lower unemployment and higher productivity.
Top Universities discusses a report from by the College Board, ‘Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society,’ which discusses certain specific economic gains. One benefit can be seen in the lifetime difference of 65 percent earning power when comparing graduate salaries with the earnings of those with just a high school education. For instance, median earnings of individuals with a bachelor’s degree in 2011 were on average $21,100 higher than those with a high school degree. Going through higher education also simply increases the chances of getting hired in the first place.
The Association for Public & Land-Grant Universities further emphasizes this by stating that bachelor degree holders contribute more in taxes to governments. In addition, they rely less on government programs. These include Medicaid and unemployment benefits among other programs.
Not only are degree holders more likely to vote, but they are also more civically engaged overall. They tend to donate more and volunteer more. Thus their additions all lead towards creating a better society for all.
All of these benefits add to society and make it more prosperous and vibrant. Even if they seem like more individual gains, they all contribute to society at large whether directly or indirectly. While it can be difficult for some to achieve higher education, in the long run there are many positives which outweigh the negatives.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 21st print edition.
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