Here at Blavin Scholars, we help former foster care youth attend college. We are passionate about what we do and will never stop advocating for this disenfranchised portion of our population. In this article, we’d like to share some research that helps explain why we feel so strongly about helping kids obtain a college degree.
Earning a college degree is not just about opening up new job opportunities, it’s also also about helping prepare young people to be adults; to achieve something through years of dedication, hard work and discipline. A college education surely opens up more career opportunities and better paying jobs, but it also enhances overall happiness.
The results of a 2014 Pew Research Center survey bear out our strong belief that college is essential to better life outcomes. In its survey, Pew interviewed 2,002 employed adults ages 25-32 from across the nation. Here are some highlights from what this groundbreaking survey revealed:
- College graduates earn roughly $17,500 more each year than those with only a high school diploma.
- Those with a college education have an 89% employment rate while their less-educated peers have an 82% employment rate.
- Those with a college education have a far lower unemployment rate – 3.8% versus 12.2% for those without a college degree.
- 22% with only a high school diploma are living in poverty, compared with 6% of today’s college-educated young adults.
In addition to the higher levels of income and lower levels of unemployment, a new study from the University of Maine shows that college graduates also live happier, healthier lives. The study, It’s Not Just the Money, finds that college graduates:
- Are far more likely to report being happy than their non-graduate peers are.
- Report having “good” or “very good” health 44% more than their non-graduate peers do.
- Are 4 times less likely than high school graduates to smoke
- Are significantly more likely to exercise, wear a seatbelt, maintain a healthy weight and regularly see a doctor.
- Have a life expectancy 7 years longer than those who hold a high school diploma or less.
Here at Blavin, we don’t need statistics and surveys to know the impact a college degree has on a person. We live it every day. We hear it in the hopeful voices of young people just exiting foster care. We see it in the dreaming faces of our current scholars. We see it in the amazing successes of our past scholars. We know that a college degree makes a tremendous difference for a young person,… that’s why we are passionate about higher education – it changes lives.