Top Pro & Con Arguments


Because they learn interpersonal and other skills in college, graduates are more productive as members of society.

Students have the opportunity to interact with other students and faculty, to join student organizations and clubs, and to take part in discussions and debates. According to Arthur Chickering’s “Seven Vectors” student development theory, “developing mature interpersonal relationships” is one of the seven stages students progress through as they attend college. Students ranked “interpersonal skills” as the most important skill used in their daily lives in a survey of 11,000 college students. Vivek Wadhwa, technology entrepreneur and scholar, states, “American children party [in college]. But you know something, by partying, they learn social skills. They learn how to interact with each other…They develop skills which make them innovative. Americans are the most innovative people in the world because of the education system.” [7] [16] [18]

Students live, go to classes, and socialize with other students from around the world and learn from professors with a variety of expertise. The community of people on a college campus means students are likely to make diverse friends and business connections, and, potentially, find a spouse or mate. Access to a variety of people allows college students to learn about different cultures, religions, and personalities they may have not been exposed to in their hometowns, which broadens their knowledge and perspective. 70.7% of college freshmen in 2015 said they expected to socialize with someone of another racial or ethnic group while in college, while 59.1% said college would help improve their understanding of other countries and cultures. [106]

Henry Bienan, President Emeritus of Northwestern University, argues that a college education results in “greater productivity, lower crime, better health, [and] better citizenship for more educated people.” A 2009 study found 16 to 24 year old high school drop-outs were 63% more likely to be incarcerated than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from Sep. 2008 to Sep. 2009, 43% of college graduates did volunteer work compared to 19% of high school graduates and 27% of adults in general. [11] In 2005, college graduates were more likely to have donated blood in the past year (9%) than people with some college (6%), high school graduates (4%), and people who did not complete high school (2%). [21] [22] [23]

College graduates attract higher-paying employers to their communities. A 1% increase in college graduates in a community increases the wages of workers without a high school diploma by 1.9% and the wages of high school graduates by 1.6%. [21]

Finally, people who do not go to college are more likely to be unemployed and, therefore, place undue financial strain on society, making a college degree worth it to taxpayers. Young people “not engaged in employment/education or training,” AKA NEET, are more likely to receive welfare than youth in general, they are more likely to commit crimes, and they are more likely to receive public health care, all costing the government extra money. In total, each NEET youth between the ages of 16 and 25 impose a $51,350 financial burden on society per year, and after the person is 25 he or she will impose a financial burden of $699,770. The total cost of 6.7% of the US population being NEET youth is $4.75 trillion, which is comparable to half of the US public debt. [28] [29]

College graduates have lower poverty rates due to their lower unemployment rates. The 2008 poverty rate for bachelor’s degree holders was 4%, compared to a 12% poverty rate for high school graduates. In 2005, married couples with bachelor’s degrees were least likely to be below the poverty line (1.8%) compared to 2.7% of associate’s degree holders, 4.6% of couples with some college, and 7.1% of high school graduates. According to the US Census Bureau, 1% of college graduates participated in social support programs like Medicaid, National School Lunch Program, and food stamps compared to 8% of high school graduates in 2008. [11] [21]

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