5 Surprising Benefits Of Earning A College Degree

What are the benefits of a college degree? It’s not surprising to know that college graduates can make more money than high school graduates, have higher employability rates and greater chances of getting better jobs. But earning a college degree can come with benefits that might surprise you. Have you ever asked yourself whether a college degree can make you happier or healthier? It just might, according to our research. Take a look at these 5 surprising benefits that come with higher education, whether you plan to do that online or on-campus.

5 Surprising Benefits of a College Degree

1. Good Health


A study conducted by the Lumina Foundation called “It’s Not Just the Money”, reports that college graduates are 44 percent healthier than their non-graduate peers. According to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, college education typically results in healthier habits, occupations with healthier working conditions and better access to healthcare. They are also less likely to smoke and more likely to wear a seatbelt, exercise, see a doctor regularly, volunteer, and (believe it or not) live longer.

2. Happiness


Are college graduates happier? College graduates are more likely to remain happy, as reported by Huffington Post. You are more likely to see your glass as half full with a college education. They typically have a greater sense of personal well-being and life satisfaction than those without a higher education qualification. Additionally, college degree may give you a better shot at job happiness, too. According to GenFKD, more workers are happy than unhappy with their jobs. This could also be due to promotions and job advancement as well as more opportunities that come with that experience.

3. Positive Example For Children


Children benefit when their parents have a college degree. A study from NCES indicates children whose parents attended college are much more likely to attend university (and graduate) themselves. This is especially good news for returning students with children, who may find themselves sacrificing some family time now to pursue the degree. In addition to laying the foundation for better health and well-being in the future, college-bound parents can serve as positive role models for their children while still in school.

4. Stronger Relationships


Marriages thrive with higher education, too. College graduates seek to build a mutually fulfilling marriage and strive to pursue family stability, as reported by the Atlantic. The report suggests that high school graduates seem less likely to marry, and when they do marry, they are less satisfied and more likely to divorce. One reason for this is there are less good jobs available for those with less education.

5. Expand Your World View


Those college-level analytical skills aren’t just for your resume and future employer. You’ll use them to solve everyday problems and make rational decisions. According to a study by IRAP in 2016, college graduates are better able to apply their learning to real world situations and have an expanded world view. College trains you to think independently and rely on reason rather than prejudice. These skills serve you well whether you are looking for the best deal on a used car, running your own business or deciding how to spend your free time.

How Much Can a College Graduate Earn Than a High School Graduate?

Apart from the 5 non-monetary benefits of earning a college a degree described above, the significant difference in earnings that comes with higher education can make a strong case for individuals who are on the fence about earning a college degree. Take a look at the median weekly earnings by education level, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2018:

  • High school diploma holders earn $730 week
  • Those with an associate degree earn $862 a week (about 18 percent more than high school graduates)
  • Those with bachelor’s degree earn $1,198 a week (about 38 percent more than those with an associate degree)
  • Those with a master’s degree earn $1,434 a week (about 20 percent more than those with a bachelor’s degree)

Think of how much more that translates when you consider total monthly and yearly earnings over a decade. Higher education attainment can also lead to greater job security. Those with a bachelor’s degree enjoyed an unemployment rate of 2.1 percent in 2018, while BLS reports that 4.1 percent of people with a high school diploma were unemployed that year.

In conclusion, your higher post-graduate income won’t buy you love or happiness — but your college education could get you there. The connections you make and knowledge you gain while in college may just help you live happily ever after.


  • Association of Educational Attainment With Lifetime Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, JAMA Internal Medicine, August 2017, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2630755
  • College Enrollment and Work Activity of Recent High School and College Graduates Summary, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2018, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/hsgec.nr0.htm
  • Elka Torpey, “Measuring the value of education,” Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2018, https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2018/data-on-display/education-pays.htm
  • Educated Americans paved the way to divorce- then embrace marriage, The Atlantic, January 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/01/education-divide-marriage/57968
  • Education Pays 2016, The College Board, accessed March 2019, https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/education-pays-2016-full-report.pdf
  • First-Generation Students: College Access, Persistence, and Postbachelor’s Outcomes, NCES, February 2018, https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2018421
  • Want to be Happier and Healthier? Then go to College, Huffington post, October 2016, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-merisotis/want-to-be-happier-and-he_b_8288354/
  • Will A College Degree Lead to More Job Happiness? GenFKD, accessed March 2019, http://www.genfkd.org/will-college-degree-lead-job-happiness
  • 5 surprising benefits of getting a college degree, California College, San Diego, July 2018, https://www.cc-sd.edu/blog/the-lesser-known-benefits-of-your-college-degree
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