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Millennials, Nonwhites Place Most Importance on College Education

Nine-out-of-ten Affluent respondents credit their college education as a contributor to their success, while 84 percent said they believe a college education is necessary in today’s workplace.

| BY Donald Liebenson

Seven-in-ten Americans believe that a college education is very important, according to a new Gallup poll. This is up significantly from the 1970s and 80s. In 1978, when the polling organization first asked this question, just over one-third (36 percent) considered a college education to be very important, Gallup reports.

The challenging job market that finds half of college graduates either unemployed or underemployed has spurred debate in the past year about the value of a college education in relation to its spiraling costs. The bottom line is that Americans continue to place a high value on a college education as the surest path to a good job and the opportunity to earn more over their lifetime than those without a degree.

The perceived value of a college education is slightly higher among Millennials than Baby Boomers and seniors (74 percent vs. 67 percent), the Gallup survey found. It also found that nonwhites—blacks, Hispanics and Asians—have a higher opinion on the value of a college education than do whites. Women, too, are more likely than men to value a college degree, a reflection of the higher percentages of women currently enrolled in higher education compared with past years.

A majority of Affluent individuals rank “educational opportunities” as a fundamental bedrock of the American Dream, according to a 2012 Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner survey. Another survey conducted in August of this year found that nine-out-of-ten Affluent respondents credit their college education as a contributor to their success, while 84 percent said they believe a college education is necessary in today’s workplace.

Across all wealth levels surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, education ranks second only to hard work as the primary factor in obtaining wealth.

But not all colleges, degrees and majors are created equal, according to recent studies. One such report from College Measures found that several factors influence job earnings, including what degree graduates earn, what school awarded their degree, and the field in which the degree is earned. “As they enter the labor market, some graduates earn far more than others,” the report states. “Graduates with the same major but from different schools can take home substantially different amounts of money. And earnings vary widely among graduates from the same school who have chosen different majors.”



About the Author


Donald Liebenson

dliebenson@millionairecorner.com

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.