With it becoming more and more common for people to earn a college degree, it may seem like the value of getting one has decreased. The cost of attending college certainly isn’t cheap, and the time commitment is no small thing—is earning that piece of paper really worth all the trouble? Will we ever see a return on that investment?
Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pay gap between college grads and non-college grads is not only at an all-time high, but it’s consistently widening year after year. It’s just a fact—people who graduate from college make more money than people who don’t.
Here are some of the most compelling reasons for pursuing that degree, and why a school like Independence University may be just what you’re looking for.
1. Personalized Student Support
Some online colleges, like Independence University aim to keep class sizes small. They have a limit on student-to-instructor ratio. Smaller classes mean more one-on-one time with the professor, and more personalized instruction. Online universities like also offer a wide assortment of student support, customized for each student’s needs—whether that’s tutoring, tech support, financial aid help, or career placement.
2. Job-Specific Degrees
Online college tends to do away with needless electives that take up your time and distract from the classes that get you closer to your career, allowing you to finish your degree faster and get started on those career goals. Courses are designed with the skills you’ll need in your chosen career at the forefront. And with the flexibility of an online program, you are free to schedule your course load in a way that makes sense for you. If you are really good with computers and want to learn more about them, an online associate’s in cybersecurity would be a good pick.
3. Cheaper Than a Traditional University
Online programs often cost much less than the traditional college experience. While this doesn’t always apply to tuition costs, associated costs are eliminated almost entirely. There’s no commuting, for instance, which saves on gas money and time, and oftentimes there are textbooks or course materials because the same information is available online at no cost.
4. Keep Your Job
Online courses mean you don’t have to quit your day job. You can schedule your classes around your work schedule, and move as fast or as slow as you want to. This extra income will cut down on the need for student loans and allow you to continue earning money as you go through your program.
5. Higher Income
It’s been true in the past and it’s still true today–people with college degrees simply make more money than people without. And the ever-widening pay gap will only continue to expand as the years go by. What was once a relatively small difference of $8,000 per year in the 1960s, has grown to a nearly $20,000 wage gap between grads and non-grads.
7. Not Getting a Degree Will Cost You
Not only is the pay disparity pretty significant, but it actually ends up costing you more in the long run if you don’t get a degree. In fact, non-grads may wind up losing nearly $1 million in lifetime wages (50 years times $20,000). In 2013, of adults aged 25 to 32 with only a high school level education, 22% were below the poverty line, compared to 6% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more.
8. Increased Health and Happiness
College grads tend to be healthier, happier, and more likely to exercise, go to the doctor, and make healthy choices, such as wearing a seatbelt and not smoking. They are five times less likely to be jailed or imprisoned, and often have a longer lifespan—about 9 years longer than non-grads. This is most likely a result of having access to better health care, which comes about by having a better job, which results from getting a college degree. College grads also tend to be more active in their communities, by volunteering, voting, or participating in a religious organization.
Of course, earning a college degree is not just about making more money. The process prepares you mentally, socially, and intellectually for what you’ll experience in the workforce and as an adult in general.