Should People Go To College or Not – Term Paper


In the contemporary world, the importance of higher education has become more prevalent than ever before in the history. Today thousands of young people are joining colleges across the world so that they can improve their future life. Several scholars in the field of education and economics have argued that a college degree improve the chances of better future and thus most people sees higher education as a gate pass to healthy life. “Should Everyone Go to College?” by Isabel and Stephanie is one of the articles which has been written arguing on why a college education is necessary. This paper aims at analyzing the argument presented in this article by evaluating what the authors are saying and how it works, it will also give a response to whether the evidence is compelling and why. 

Analysis of the Argument

Hire a custom writer who has experience.
It's time for you to order amazing papers!

order now

In their article, Isabel and Stephanie has a primary argument that college education is better to the society because it gives people an upper hand in all aspects of life. The major focus is on the financial success of those with college degree where the dual argues that those individuals with this kind of education have better chances of earning more as compared to those with only high school degree (Sawhill and Owen, 1). The argument also expands beyond financial where it is argued that also in social and political activities, those people with a college degree tend to prosper.

In this article, several factors have been used to presents how the higher education is better to the society. First is on the rate of returns derived from the education. The authors of this article have begun by comparing the expenses spent during the learning period, and the income earned after the schooling time. It has been said that the major cost that is incurred is the tuition fee which is always very high, as well as the opportunity cost incurred when students spend four years in college instead of working. It has been argued that such price is always high and thus can be disadvantaged to some students who fails to get good jobs when they completed their education. High school leavers who do not join colleges do not incur this cost, and thus they were used as the point of reference for the comparison.

The authors then look at the future income capability of the high school graduate and the college graduates. From several studies which they use as their references, their find that the college graduate in average makes at least $12,000 more money annually than a high school graduate (Sawhill and Owen, 1). Such gap is quite significant as it shows how variable the higher education is and especially here in the United States. The difference becomes even more important with age; it is observed that in average, at age 50 years, the college graduate in the United States make $46,500 more money annually than a high school graduate. The article thus argues that such huge difference is thus an indication that higher education has great importance to the society.

The article also focuses of the premium that higher education has to individuals. It is first estimated that the tuition fee incurred during college and the opportunity cost of not earning during that period are estimated to be $102,000. However, those individuals how to attain an associate’s degree makes $170,000 more than the high school graduate in their entire life. It thus means that they increase their future financial value by $68,000 by going to college (Sawhill and Owen, 1). On the other hand, those with bachelor’s degree earns $570,000 above the high school graduates meaning that they make $468,000 more money in their life just for attending a college.

The article also puts extra emphasis on the non-financial importance that is associated with the college degree. It argues that more education has a general effect of improving the human wellbeing. For example, it states that those individuals who go to college are more satisfied in their jobs, have good health, marriage, and parenting skills, have high trust, and their social interaction is of high quality. Additionally, these individuals also are very active in good politics, and they also are not prone to crimes as compared to high school graduate. The article thus claims that all the above mentioned non-financial importance are also an excellent demonstration of why a college education is good.

Response to the Argument

Based on the fact and logics presented in the above article, I think that the arguments on the importance of college education are effective. First, the arguments are based on past academic studies thus giving it credibility. The authors des not just use speculative information when presenting all their numerical argument; they have evidence to back up their analysis and that based on that sensitive way of presenting statistical data, I believe that the argument is cogent.

Apart from the use of academic information, the use of numerical calculation is also very practical. The explanation is more understood when arithmetic is used to get different between two aspects. In this argument, numbers are the one which shows the difference between the high school graduates income and the degrees holders’ income. For example, the authors demonstrate that high school graduates earn $12,000 less as compared to the bachelor’s degree holder;s between their ages 23-25 years (Sawhill and Owen, 1). Such argument is self-explanatory, and thus it is very efficient because any readers of this article would find no problem in understanding the concept.

The argument used by the authors is also effective because it connects with people’s real life situations. First, the authors insist that degree graduates are better off in their financial status compared to those without the degree. Such arguments are considered correct by most people, not only because of studies conducted but also because that is simplify observed in all societies in the world. Readers of this article are thus more likely to agree with it because it is realistic. Concerning the non-financial arguments, the article also seems to agree with most people views. Those individuals with degrees are always seen as better off in most aspect like social interaction, marriages, health, and parenting style. They are also very active in politics and rarely are they found in crimes. It is thus true to say the article is compelling because it confirms most of the popular culture norms about college education.


In conclusion, the above exegesis has presented an analysis of an article by evaluating what the authors are arguing and how it works. It has also given a response on whether the argument is efficient and why. It has been revealed that the argument by the authors in the article is that college education is good due to financial and social benefits associated with it. The evidence has also been found to be effective because it uses academic references, it is based on numeric, and its arguments are realistic based on popular culture norms.

Work Cited

Isabel V. Sawhill and Stephanie Owen. May 8, 2013. Should Everyone Go To College? Brookings Press. Retrieved from