Given that we have a basic definition of higher education, why do you need it? According to many sources , higher education offers graduates more jobs to choose from than are open to those who don't pursue education beyond high school, and graduates typically earn more than nongraduates. Specifically, the US Census Bureau reported in 2004 that, on average, a college graduate earns $54,704, significantly more than the $30,056 earned annually by someone with a high school diploma, or the $22,100 earned by a high school dropout. Another way of looking at these numbers is that, according to the Postsecondary Education Opportunity Research Letter (PEORL), the lifetime income of families headed by individuals with a bachelor's degree will be about $1.6 million more than the incomes of families headed by those with a high school diploma. The PEORL goes on to state that every dollar spent on a college education produces $34.85 in increased lifetime income--not a bad return on an investment.
Higher education improves an individual's quality of life. Studies show that, compared to high school graduates, college graduates have longer life spans, better access to health care, better dietary and health practices, greater economic stability and security, more prestigious employment and greater job satisfaction, less dependency on government assistance, greater knowledge of government, greater community service and leadership, more volunteer work, more self-confidence, and less criminal activity and incarceration. In addition, college graduates supposedly have greater use of seatbelts, more continuing education, greater Internet access, greater attendance at live performances, greater participation in leisure and artistic activities, more book purchases, and higher voting rates. As an aside, I have to admit that I was amazed at some of these items--not that I found them, but that someone actually researched this stuff and thought some of the items were enviable.
Website for access to Education Opportunities in United States: