Is it only for the money?

The Value of Education

by Conrad Weisert
March 20, 2013
© 2013 Information Disciplines, Inc.

I got an E-mail this morning from Linked In announcing an article "What's the Value of a College Degree?" The point of the article, like many others, was that the more education one gets, the more wealth he's likely to acquire in his working life. That's the conventional wisdom, although we also hear about a few prominent "entrepreneurs" who manage to become obscenely rich without finishing college.

We recall Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General of the United States, visiting a Washington, D.C., high school in the 1960s and urging the "disadvantaged" students to stay in school and graduate. He pointed out that they would then earn much more money than if they dropped out early. "What utter nonsense," we thought at the time. Every one of those students knows that he can make plenty of money right now shoplifting, peddling dope, or in various other streetwise ways. Furthermore, Kennedy had only managed to cheapen the value of education. We become educated not in order to acquire more material wealth, but in order to lead interesting and worthwhile lives as educated citizens.

In pursuing a BA and later an MS degree I don't recall ever registering for a course because I had calculated its impact on my future earnings. Most of the courses I took expanded my knowledge and my ability to think. They instilled the habit of further learning on my own. I lead a far more fulfilling life today because of my education, even though my bank account is modest.

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Last modified March 20, 2013