Increasing Opportunity: The Real Value of Higher Education

By: Jesse Homan May 18, 2023

Increasing Opportunity: The Real Value of Higher Education

Every May, thousands of people experience a life-changing event—they earn a college degree. In a world of rising tuition and falling enrollment, it can be easy to lose sight of the true value of higher education.

But the fact remains that college really does change lives. Helping a student enroll isn’t just the point of higher ed marketing, it’s also a solution for students hoping to increase their income, expand their career options, and gain access to more opportunities. Not only does college provide students with more career opportunities and increased income, but the impact of higher education has a ripple effect on families and communities.

Millions of Students Enroll in Higher Ed Each Year

In Fall 2022, nearly 18 million students were enrolled in degree-granting institutions across the United States. Although enrollment fell across most demographics, the enrollment of Latinx students rose by 1.6 percent. Additionally, 34.6% of online college students are the first in their family to attend college and 39% of online college students had some college but no degree and were enrolling in hopes of finally earning a credential.

Although earning a degree is an achievement on its own, most students enroll with bigger goals. They hope to improve their career and ultimately provide more comfortable lives for themselves and their families. Just over 50% of online college students have four years or less of work experience and 19.5% of online undergraduates are pursuing a degree to get their first professional or salaried job.

Impact of Higher Education for Graduates

For those who persist, the impact of higher education is substantial. People with bachelor’s degrees earn about 17,000 dollars more per year over those with only a high school diploma. The unemployment rate follows a similar trend. In March 2023, high school graduates with no college had a 4% unemployment rate compared to those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher who had an unemployment rate of just 2%

For those who leave programs without graduating, it’s not too late. Colleges and universities can still help these students finish what they started. During the 2021-2022 academic year, nearly 1 million students with some college and no degree, re-enrolled in a post-secondary program.

A more stable career and a higher-paying job benefit the student, but degree holders also impact their communities. They tend to be more socially connected and active in their communities. They engage more with civic issues, too.

The Value of Higher Education Delivered Online

Some may argue that access to online education isn’t the great democratizer we once thought. As evidence, they will cite that the greatest proportion of online college students is white, middle-class women and that most people enroll in a college close to home, even when studying online.

However, there’s a difference between not taking advantage of an opportunity and not having that opportunity in the first place. For the individual whose life is changed by access to online learning, that opportunity means the world.

There may be a gap between the scope of the opportunity and the number of people who have chosen to use it but to the Hispanic father who becomes the first in his family to attend college while also providing for his family, online college is literally life-changing.

That change will ripple out to his children, who will be more likely to attend college within three years of graduating high school just because they had at least one parent who graduated.

EDDY Positively Impacts Minority Students

According to one 3rd party analysis, EducationDynamics (EDDY) is projected to help an estimated 93,000 students from minority populations earn their degrees between 2021 and 2025. The total 5-year economic impact for women and minority students is estimated at over $4.9 billion.

To put that in perspective, women who are influenced by EDDY to earn a Bachelor’s degree are expected to experience a more than 93% increase in income over 5 years. Minority students who earn an associate’s degree may experience a total 5-year income increase of more than 31%.

In addition to inquiry nurturing, awareness marketing and success coaching, EDDY also offers an annual scholarship for minority and first-generation students.

Conveying the Value of Higher Education

All of these benefits start with the decision to enroll. Higher education marketers have a responsibility to convey the value of higher education so students understand what enrollment can earn them. It’s a service not just for students and colleges, but for society. This year, thousands of students will take a step toward a brighter future. The ripple effect of that decision will be felt for generations to come.

At EducationDynamics, we are proud of the role we play in connecting students with institutions of higher ed and helping them persist through graduation. We help colleges and universities navigate the shifting landscape to understand, engage, and serve today’s students. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.