Blog Post

Insight: Congrats to the Grads: The Benefits of Higher Education

By: Andrea Thomas Brandley

Over the past few weeks, thousands of Utah families have been celebrating college graduates, my family included. The class of 2022 includes six of my family members (two siblings, three siblings-in-law, and my husband), graduating with various degrees from four different Utah institutions. No matter how many graduation ceremonies I attend, I always end up with tears in my eyes, in awe of the accomplishments and hard work of so many reaching this important milestone. However, graduating college does much more than bring proud tears to family members’ eyes. Increasing educational attainment is associated with many benefits both for the graduate and for society at large.

Some of these many benefits include:

  • Reduced unemployment and poverty rates – Those without a high school diploma face an unemployment rate twice as high as those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (3.7% and 1.5% respectively).[i] Additionally, those without a high school diploma have poverty rates four times higher than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (16.0% and 3.9% respectively).[ii]
  • Increased wages, GDP, and tax revenues – Income rises with increases in education. For example, in 2019, Utahns with a graduate or professional degree had a median income of $76,099 compared to a median income of $28,028 for those with less than a high school diploma.