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Higher education pays off, study says

Posted on Monday, December 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm

A recent Tennessee Higher Education Commission study explored the payoff of higher education in Tennessee and concluded that higher education pays, said Dr. MaryLou Apple, Motlow College president.

“The data in the THEC study supports information from many other sources, all of which points to the premise that higher education pays and will continue to do so,” she said. “The majority of jobs in the future will require post-secondary education and training.”

Apple said a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that by 2018, 54 percent of jobs in Tennessee will require education beyond high school, and in some states that percentage is as high as 70 percent.

“The report also states that by 2018, Tennessee will have 967,000 job vacancies, and that 516,000 of those jobs will require post-secondary credentials,” she said. “We must have a sense of urgency in addressing the need for higher education if the state is to continue attracting business and industry. We must let our young people know the value of a college education and how it can improve their chances for higher paying jobs.”

Apple said the highest salaries among students earning associate degrees or certificates are earned in select fields, including nursing, engineering, technology, law enforcement, business computer programming, medical laboratory technology, emergency medical technician and mechatronics.

College graduates not only get most of the better paying jobs, they also are less likely to be unemployed, according to a 2011 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report states the unemployment rate for workers with doctoral degree was 2.5 percent; for those with a master’s degree, 3.6 percent; for bachelor’s degree holders, 4.9 percent; and for workers with an associate degree, 6.8 percent.

The unemployment rate for high school graduates with no college was 9.4 percent, and for workers without a high school diploma, 14.1 percent – more than twice the unemployment rate of workers with an associate’s degree.

“The numbers support the need for more college graduates in Tennessee,” Apple said. “Yes, higher education costs money, but the return on investment is priceless when it leads to a better quality of life for students, families and communities.”

Apple said Motlow College offers a wide variety of financial aid options and courses of study that lead to certificates, associate of applied science degrees and university-parallel associate of arts/sciences degrees.

“Wherever students want to go academically, we can help them get there,” she said.

Prospective students can obtain information on Motlow’s website or by visiting one of the college’s sites in Moore County, Fayetteville, McMinnville or Smyrna.