Reading 4U: Higher Education In The U.S.A


  "The more you learn, the more you earn," said the pop singer Cyndi Lauper as she accepted her high school diploma-at the age of 35! Although Cyndi made it without a high school degree, most people don't. In the U.S.A. today, about 75% of jobs require some education or technical training beyond high school. The lowest wage earners in the U.S.A. are those without high school degrees; college graduades outearn those without a college education; people with master's degrees outearn those with only a bachelor's; and the highest incomes of all are earned by people with advanced professional or academic degrees. These generalizations explain why the majority of young Americans go to college. However, despite the averages, more diplomas don't always mean more money. Many skilled bluecollar workers, salespeople, business executives, and enterpreneurs outearn college professors and scientific researchers. And great athletes and entertainers outearn everyone else!
  But a college education is not only preparation for a career; it is also (or should be) preparation for life. In addition to courses in their major field of study, most students have time to take elective courses. They may take classes that help them understand more about human nature, government, the arts, sciences, or whatever else interests them.
  Going to college, either full-time or part-time, is becoming the automatic next step after high school. Today, more than half of American high school graduates enroll in college. Today, it is quite common for adults of all ages to come back to college either for career advancement or personal growth. By 1992, about half of all American college students will be older than 25, and 20% of them will be over 35. Serving this great variety of peopie are about 3,400 institutions of higher learning enrolling more than 12 million students.
  American faith in the value of education is exemplified by the rising number of Americans who have at least a bachelor's degree. About 20% of Americans are college graduates. However, among younger adults and working people, the percentage is at least 25%, much higher than in most other major nations. In the U.S.A., a college education is not viewed as a privilege reservesd for the wealthy or the academically talented. Virtually everyone who wants to attend college can do so.