College Education vs. Not Getting a Degree

Education can be a path toward financial success, but a person needs to pay the price in order to reap the benefits. It is important to note that college education is among the major investments, which one can make during his or her lifetime, and considering its rising costs, it is evident that one might question whether or not the expense is worth the money. The analysis of the current literature and research through ethos-based credibility as well as logical reasoning is indicative of the fact that college education is a better option for the majority of individuals despite the high costs and burdens of student loan debts.

Sources of Concern

In order to properly address the issue at hand, one should be aware of the underlying reasons why some might be reluctant to consider college education as a sound and viable alternative. It is stated that “people who have dropped out of college — about 40 percent of all who attend — earn only a bit more than do people with only a high school education: $38,376 a year versus $35,256” (Shell 2). In other words, if one is unable to complete the educational process in a successful manner, he or she will be in a considerably worse position compared to someone who decided to skip college education. The main reason is manifested in the fact that the earning potential or capability of a person who has attended and might have even completed a significant part of the process is no different from an individual who chose the other alternative. These two different people will have an equivalent earning potential, but the one who was not able to complete the educational process will also have a massive student loan debt, which he or she will not pay off easily. Therefore, the primary source of concern for many individuals is rooted in the fact that deciding to attend college is a highly risky endeavor, which can only be plausible if one completes it fully, whereas dropping out of college will most likely financially cripple the person for a long period of time.

College Wage Premium

It is of paramount importance to address the key benefit of attending and graduating from college, which is manifested in an acquisition of a college wage premium. In other words, a person who successfully completes the college educational process will enjoy higher wages compared to his or her peers, who only completed a high school education. It is stated that “in recent years, the average college graduate with only a bachelor’s degree earned $78,000, compared to $45,000 for those with only a high school diploma” (Jaschik 2). In other words, the difference between the earning potential of college graduates and high school graduates is roughly equal to $33,000, which means that one can earn almost twice as much as the other. Therefore, it is evident that one needs to be aware that a college diploma is among the key elevators towards more financial prosperity due to the increased wage obtained through the premium. Although the research does not factor in the financial burden of student loan debt incurred on the premium, one can still see how the difference in wages is substantial. Therefore, the logical appeal is rooted in the notion of making a sound financial choice, where a person can almost double his or her earning potential through a college education. The situation might have certain financial risks associated with it, but the rewards are clear and evident, which why the issue needs to be considered thoroughly and with uttermost consideration.

Cost-Benefit Analysis and Entrepreneurship

In order to fully and comprehensively grasp the financial value of college education, it is important to account for student loan debts through an overview of cost-benefit analysis-based implications. Such an analysis with consideration to the student loan debts suggests that “the present discounted value of attending college for the median student to vary between $85,000 and $300,000 depending on the student’s major” (Webber 296). In other words, the cost-benefit analysis is indicative of the fact that despite the financial risks associated with the college education process, the outcome, in financial terms, is still in favor of the option of making a decision to attend and complete college. The net positive benefit can be seen across all variations, which means that it is a sound and logical decision in most scenarios. One might argue that such an approach might not reflect the risk to a full extent, such as a possibility of dropping out. However, the analysis states that the findings “emphasize the role that risk (e.g., the nontrivial chance that a student will not eventually graduate) plays in the cost-benefit analysis of obtaining a college degree” (Webber 296). In other words, although one will face major ramifications for not being able to complete a college education, on average, the option of attending and completing college is a viable and financially logical option to adhere to. One of the most widely known arguments against college education is that entrepreneurs do not need a degree and that it is solely designed for people seeking employment. Research with a thorough analysis of large-scale data states that “individuals with a college education are more likely to have their own businesses than those without; entrepreneurs with college education receive a significantly higher annual income than those without” (Guo et al. 1). In other words, a person, who completed a college education, is far more likely to be successful in starting and running a business than a person who decided not to attend college altogether. Logically, it is evident why this is the case since a college education is not merely designed or centered around a specific role or career path. The educational process in a college can be categorized as a highly comprehensive one, where students are exposed to and able to learn about a wide range of relevant subjects, which might not be directly relevant to their majors, but still can benefit them in various ways. Therefore, it is logically appealing for a person to attend college to be able to make use of his or her entrepreneurial skills and goals.


In conclusion, the given analysis reveals the fact that attending and completing college is still a highly viable and logical alternative to skipping it. Firstly, a person with a college degree is more likely to enjoy a college wage premium, where he or she can earn almost twice as much as someone with a degree. Secondly, college is an appealing option despite the burden of student loan debts and risks of dropping out, which is indicated by cost-benefit analysis. Thirdly, college is even beneficial in regard to entrepreneurial endeavors.

Works Cited

Guo, Xuguang, et al. “Is College Education Worth It? Evidence from Its Impacts On Entrepreneurship in The United States.” Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, vol. 28, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-26.

Jaschik, Scott. ” Is College Worth It? Yes.” Inside Higher Ed, Web.

Shell, Ellen R. ” College May Not Be Worth It Anymore.” The New York Times, Web.

Webber, Douglas A. “Are College Costs Worth It? How Ability, Major, And Debt Affect the Returns to Schooling.” Economics of Education Review, vol. 53, 2016, pp. 296-310.

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