The Benefits of Higher Education and a Professional Degree

Robb PhotoJames D. Robb is Associate Dean for External Affairs and Senior Counsel at Cooley Law School.  

The College Board has just released a study demonstrating the positive effects of higher education.  In its study called Education Pays 2013 – The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society written by Sandy Baum, Jennifer Ma, and Kathleen Payea, the College Board cites a vast amount of data to conclude that a college education pays dividends, and a professional degree tops the charts.

  • Individuals with higher levels of education earn more and are more likely than others to be employed.
  • The financial return associated with college credentials and the gaps in earnings by education level have increased over time.
  • Federal, state, and local governments enjoy increased tax revenues from college graduates and spend less on income support programs for them, providing a direct financial return on investments in postsecondary education.
  • College-educated adults are more likely than others to receive health insurance and pension benefits from their employers.
  • Adults with higher levels of education are more active citizens than others.
  • College education leads to healthier lifestyles, reducing health care costs.
  • College-educated mothers spend more time with children and alter the composition of that time to suit children’s developmental needs more than less educated mothers.
  • College education increases the chances that adults will move up the socioeconomic ladder.
  • Substantial evidence indicates that the associations described above are the result of increased educational attainment, not just of individual characteristics.

These conclusions are consistent with those I highlighted in a prior post, The Economic Value of a Law Degree.  The malicious scam bloggers and the ill-informed naysayers who bash legal education, and indeed higher education, continue to lose out.  The present time continues to be a great time to enter to law school.

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