These are exciting times.
These are exciting times at the University of Minnesota Crookston. More than 300 students were awarded diplomas from the University of Minnesota earlier this month. Our graduating seniors are getting exciting positions or going on to graduate and professional school. In fact our students who wish to become veterinarians are accepted into veterinary school at a rate four times the national average.
This year we have graduates who are going to professional schools to become attorneys and some will study to become veterinarians, medical doctors, optometrists, physical therapists, dentists, anesthesiologists, and other health professionals Others are going to graduate school to study microbiology, bioinformatics, economics, finance and agronomy.
The workplaces at Cargill, Syngenta, Digi-Key, CHS and many of our local farm cooperatives will have new University of Minnesota Crookston alums. Some of our students will manage golf courses while others will keep your streets, roads, forests, rivers, and parks safe and managed through their public service employment. Alumni will be on farms through Minnesota, and North and South Dakota growing your food, while others will be filling your prescriptions or taking care of your pets. Others will be writing code to keep your lights on, reservations made or records current. The opportunities and job opportunities for our graduates are incredibly varied and interesting. We wish them all well as they begin the next chapter of their lives.
Many local high schools are celebrating commencement too. While many of these students will be choosing to continue their education, a few may be asking is the investment of time and money to attain a post-secondary education worth it?
According to the Association of Public and Land -grant Universities (APLU), while just 48 percent of working age Americans (https://z.umn.edu/4cc2) have some postsecondary credential, projections suggest 65 percent of all the jobs in the American economy will require postsecondary education by next year.(https://z.umn.edu/4cc3) And forecasts suggest the share of jobs requiring a college education will only rise further in decades to come.
The typical bachelor’s degree holder earns $24,336 more annually than the typical high school graduate with no college education. Over a lifetime, this premium translates into an additional $1 million in earnings. Investing in stocks has yielded an annual return of 7 percent since 1950. The return for a college degree today is about 15 percent (https://z.umn.edu/4cc4)
But it isn’t all about money.
Peter McPerson CEO of APLU summarizes that compared with individuals whose highest degree is a high school diploma, college graduates are 3 times less likely to be impoverished, 4.9 times less likely to be imprisoned and 3.9 times less likely to be a regular smoker. Those with bachelor’s degrees are also more than twice as likely to volunteer, 44 percent more likely to report being in good or excellent health and they donate 3.4 times as much to charity. What’s more, graduates are considerably more likely to vote and hold leadership positions in civic organizations. Life expectancy is an astonishing decade longer (https://z.umn.edu/4cc5) for college graduates at age 25. To be sure, it’s hard to draw a direct causal link between a college education and some of these benefits. College graduates may live longer, for instance, in part because they have access to better health care.
But even so, it’s safe to conclude that a college education and its attendant benefits play an important role in lifting a graduate’s economic fortunes — creating far-reaching effects that improve many other aspects of their lives.
Higher education helps students unlock their latent potential as they discover new knowledge and build skills they previously lacked. Education transforms lives.