The True ROI of a Bachelor’s Degree

Is it still worthwhile to go to college? Many question the choice in today’s economy, especially with soaring tuition rates and a lower guarantee of employment than ever. As with any financial choice, it is important to discuss the return on investment (ROI) of going to college. Aside from the issue of money, it is wise to look at all the benefits of getting a degree -- some of which may be surprising to those considering enrollment.

In the infographic below, the University of Florida’s Online Bachelor of Arts in Sociology takes a closer look at the true value of a bachelor’s degree:

Related program: B.A. in Sociology

UF Online Infographic: The True ROI of a Bachelor's Degree

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The Health Benefits

Going to college has many benefits, but few look at it as a health choice. In reality, college seems to be good for the body -- or, at the very least, those who attend college tend to take better care of themselves than their less-educated counterparts. This is most easily seen in the fact that college graduates have a longer lifespan than their non-matriculated peers, with graduates living on average almost a decade longer than those with only a high school education or less.

Beyond a longer life, there seem to be many other health benefits associated with graduating. Obesity rates are up to eighteen percent lower among college-educated women, and diabetes rates are almost two percent lower. College graduates are less likely to be sick than their peers and less likely to be victims of heart disease -- something likely related to the fact that college grads are half as likely to smoke as high school graduates and four times less likely to smoke than those who only hold a GED.

College graduates not only have better general health, but they are less likely to suffer from a number of diseases. Altogether, this drastically reduces the mortality rate of grads that do get sick -- they have a twenty-four percent lower mortality rate than the general population. This might be attributed to better life choices among those who attend college, but it is a strong indication that anyone who graduates comes away with a better chance at life.

Crime and Punishment

Can a college degree keep you out of jail? If you look at the numbers, it seems like it certainly doesn’t hurt. Less than thirteen percent of all individuals in prison have some sort of college degree -- that is substantially lower than the percentage of the population that has attended college. Looking at the nation as a whole, it seems that the more college students present, the lower the crime rate -- the states with the highest college enrollment rates also have the lowest amount of crime. Going to college doesn’t stop you from making bad choices, but it just might keep you out of jail.

The Married Life

A bachelor’s degree can even be an indicator of how successful your love life might be. While there is no guarantee that higher education will help you to find love, there is some data to support the idea that a college degree will help you to keep it. College graduates who marry are more likely to stay in their first marriage, and those marriages are likely to last longer. College graduates tend to have a substantially lower divorce rate than the rest of the population -- possibly a sign that the educated individuals have better luck in choosing mates.

A Competitive Edge

It’s also important to understand the competitive edge that a bachelor’s degree can give to a student. While the majority of Americans don’t have a college degree, there are more Americans who are employed with a college degree than those who are not. That means that an initial college degree gives students a huge edge over the competition, even if the market does contain a glut of educated workers. If you want to get a job, then, your first step needs to be to get a bachelor’s degree. Failure to do so will severely curtail your career ambitions -- and it will force you to compete with those who have already made the competitive choice.

Going to college can make you a healthier, happier, and more competitive worker. College graduates are less likely to be in prison, more likely to be happily married, and have a chance of living longer lives. The return on investment for going to college seems to be tremendous after looking at non-traditional factors, and the numbers certainly support any decision to attend a university. Before enrollment, though, you may want to look at the raw numbers presented in the following demographics -- you might be surprised by the information that you find within it.