Article - Why College Degrees Matter:

Why Is Earning a College Degree Important?
In the past, a high school education provided students with basic academic and life skills, and many students were employed in career fields soon after graduating from high school. Today, a bachelor’s degree is generally the minimum required for even entry level office work. Earning a college degree not only improves your chances of finding a job; it also increases your earnings. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, college graduates earn an average of $23,291 more per year than their counterparts with just a high school diploma. Over the course of an employee’s working life, this translates to a difference of more than $900,000.
What if I Can’t Afford College?
States and the federal government offer different forms of financial aid programs to students completing their first college degree. Much of this aid comes in the form of grants or work-study programs that do not have to be repaid upon graduation. There are plentiful scholarships available based on a variety of factors including academic achievement, student need, activities and affiliations, and racial or ethnic group. Even if these resources don’t pay for all of a student’s college education expenses, additional funding can be obtained in the form of student loans. While loans do need to be repaid after graduation, most loans have a 6 month grace period so that a new college graduate has time to find a job and get established.
Applying for Financial Aid
The best way to get started in applying for aid is to complete the FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – in January of the year that you plan to start attending college. Once the FAFSA is processed, schools will use this information to determine your eligibility for financial aid programs. Other resources for funding your college degree are high school and community college career centers. High schools and community colleges also staff academic counselors to help match students with scholarship programs and guide students through the application process.
Does College Your Major Matter?
College majors matter, but perhaps not in the way that you think. Certain fields – like nursing and social work – require specialized college degrees. Choosing to major in one of these fields provides pre-professional career preparation. Many other jobs that prefer or require a bachelor’s degree simply want to see that you have a good basic general education. If you are interested in working in general administrative or secretarial work, don’t worry about your major – the best major to choose is the one that most interests you. If you are interested in the subject matter that you study, you will be motivated to complete your college degree.

What About Vocational Programs?
If academics are not your strong suit or you simply need to enter the workforce quickly, a bachelor’s degree is not the only kind of college degree. Technical schools, vocational schools, and community colleges offer many direct-entry professional programs in a diverse range of fields from health care to skilled labor.
Investing in Your Future
Whatever type of college program you choose, treat your education as an investment in your financial future. Like many good things in life, a college degree can be challenging, but is well worth the rewards in the long run. Getting a college education will ensure that you have the best chance of a rewarding career and financial stability in the long term.

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