Is a Degree Really Necessary?

Sometimes people question if a college degree is necessary and how earning one can affect their financial outcomes. While we know college may not be for everyone, a 2021 JP Morgan study reported the average annual earnings for a high school graduate as $39,371, compared to $73,163 for those with a bachelor’s degree. If you factor in a 45-year career, the total incremental earnings of a college graduate are higher by more than $1.5 million. The earning potential is even greater for those who earn a master’s or doctoral degree, because they are prepared for advanced positions with higher salaries.

A strong connection also exists between securing employment and success in the workplace, with employers consistently recognizing the value of a degree. In 2021, 87% of employers surveyed said that college is definitely or probably worth the investment. Employers agree that critical thinking and analysis, problem-solving, teamwork and communication through writing and speaking are critical for success in the workplace. (American Association for Colleges and Universities, “How College Contributes to Workforce Success”).

Beyond financial success, a 2023 study conducted by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation underscores the profound impact of attaining a college degree in various facets of life including:  

  • Leading a healthier and more satisfying life
  • Increased involvement in the community
  • Cultivation of a higher level of interpersonal trust
  • Development of a stronger mental aptitude

When you attend college, you are making an investment of skills, time and financial resources to grow into the person you want to become. At Ashland we prioritize the holistic development of individuals, recognizing that the outcomes of such an investment extend well beyond earning potential. We believe that selecting a college is one of the most important investments you will ever make, and we are dedicated to ensuring that this investment yields substantial returns in all areas of your life.

Graduation mortar board - A world of possibilities awaits

Why Choose Ashland University?

For more than 135 years, Ashland University has been home to individuals striving for academic, professional and spiritual growth. Ashland students develop critical thinking, leadership and professional skills. Rooted in faith and tradition with an accent on the individual, Ashland University promotes values and respect toward each person and their spirituality. The one-on-one relationships with faculty, the challenging academic programs and collective sense of community are a few of the reasons students come to and stay at Ashland University.

From nationally recognized academic programs and innovative learning labs, to exceptional athletic programs, places of worship and award-winning dining facilities, Ashland University is designed to nurture all aspects of student development. A nationally ranked university with global impact, Ashland University has students calling Ashland "home" decades after graduation. The highly personal Ashland experience instills in students the discipline, confidence and values to not just succeed in the world, but to impact it in the most positive ways possible.

Our rankings and graduate successes clearly illustrate Ashland’s commitment to serving each individual student and that an Ashland education is a proven investment in your future.

Students walking on Avenue of Eagles