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The cost of a university education is going up and up. According to a recent article in The Economist student debt in the US has now reached $1.2tn, surpassing credit card debt and car loans. That’s not surprising when you consider that the average cost of a university education in the States is $36,564 per annum according to an HSBC study carried out in 2014. And the US is only the third most expensive country for tertiary education with Australia and Singapore clocking in as more costly.
When you/your child are looking at six figure sums to fund their way through university, you may well ask yourself if it is really worth the money. Here are six reasons why we think that it is:
Figures do seem to indicate that there is a direct correlation between earning power and education. A 2011 survey revealed that in the US median earnings of those with an undergraduate degree were on average $ 21,100 higher than those who left education after high school.
Researchers on the Brookings Institution Hamilton Project in 2011 concluded that ‘On average, the benefits of a four-year college degree are equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2% per year’. A respectable return by anyone’s standards.
The College Board report Education Pays 2013 states that ‘the 2012 unemployment rate for four-year college graduates ages 25 to 34 was 71 percentage points below that for high school graduates.’. Not only do graduates find it easier to get a job in the first place but it is widely recognised that in tough economic times they are more likely to hold on to it. Even if they don’t, given their marketability, finding another job is also easier for graduates.
This article from Mail Online reports on a study of American students and the high percentages who rate themselves above average in areas such as drive to achieve, intellectual self-confidence, leadership ability, social self-confidence and writing skills. This does tend to indicate that education plays a role in unshakeable self-esteem, even if researchers also commented on the ‘disconnect between between the student’s opinions of themselves and actual ability’!
Figures show that graduates are less likely to be obese than their non-graduate peers, more likely to exercise, less likely to smoke and less prone to depression. These are all massive contributors to not just physical wellbeing but also extended lifespans.
The children of graduates undoubtedly benefit from the educational achievements of their parents. Families with at least one university-educated parent tend to have better school attendance and achieve higher grades. These parents are more involved with their children’s education, more likely to attend parents’ evenings and more likely to read to their kids in early childhood.
So if you’re wondering whether to encourage your children down the tertiary education route and hesitating because of the high costs involved, we think there are compelling arguments in favour even though there will be some financial sacrifices to make.
The good news is that you can spread the cost of that education over a number of years and benefit from compounding by starting a savings plan now. Infinity has a wealth of experience in assisting parents with planning for this future cost and would love to do the same for you. Please contact us if you’d like to know more.
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