Economic Benefits for Women Completing College

Most women will work during some stage of their lives – whether by choice or by circumstance.  The greater a woman’s tools to succeed, the greater her options for work that is both meaningful and that allows her to make more money – increasing her chances of living above the poverty line.

Of the many benefits for completing college, the economic benefits are perhaps the most widely known, and over the last 25 years the economic benefits of higher education have been growing.  The earning gap between college graduates and non-college graduates is expanding.  Education also has an impact on earnings, occupational status, and career mobility.  Adults with education have access to better job opportunities that include high—quality health insurance and pension plans.  A College Board report explains that education lowers unemployment rates and provides income increases of over 60 percent for a four-year degree.  Overall, adults with bachelor degrees can expect to make over a million dollars more in their lifetime career than adults with high school diplomas.

Education Level (25+ years) Yearly Salary
Less than a high school diploma $23,348
High school graduates, no college $32,240
Some college or associate’s degree $37,804
Bachelor’s degree and higher $57,460

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the 2009 American Human Development Project, “Education is the single most important factor in the determination of a person’s poverty status: almost 24 percent of the adult population without a high school diploma is poor, compared to 11 percent of those who are at least high school graduates and only 3.6 percent of college graduates.”  Education provides the avenue out of poverty.

Most women will work during at least some season of their lives – whether by choice or circumstance.  Some women will choose lifelong careers.  Some will not marry and will be self-dependent.  Women who are married and choose to raise children full time may lose a spouse, need to compensate for a spouse’s health problems, or be divorced.  Some will become single mothers with responsibility for a family.  Women who choose to raise children full time will likely work after children have grown or perhaps work part-time during a stage of particular need.  Others will choose to work part-time or in more flexible jobs that allow them to be available for their children.

Whatever the choices and circumstances of a woman’s life, graduating from college provides economic benefit, opportunity, and a higher quality of life.

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