Are you thinking about going back to school, but not sure if it is worth the time or money? Here are a few points that may help you make the decision to continue your education. You may not have to pay at all. The new GI Bill covers the full cost of undergraduate education at any public – and many private – colleges and universities. Different than the previous Montgomery GI Bill, the post-9/11 bill pays schools directly, provides a living allowance, and supplies a book stipend. To qualify for the bill, you must have been on active duty for at least 90 days after September 11. Those who served for 30 days and were honorably discharged due to a service connected injury or disability are also eligible. You can calculate your benefits with the new bill using the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s calculator. You may be happier in your job. A Pew Research Center study states that “college-educated Millenials [ages 25 to 32] are more like to see themselves on a career path, rather than just working at a job to get by.” Data suggest that more than half of people surveyed with a Bachelor’s degree or more are very satisfied in their job. You are less likely to be unemployed. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate in 2013 of individuals with just a high school diploma was 7.5%. Those who held a Bachelor’s degree had an unemployment rate nearly half that at 4.0%, while those with a Master’s or above were even less likely to be unemployed at 3.4% and 2.3% respectively. You are more likely to earn more. Employees that reported a high school diploma as their highest degree earned an average of $651 per week in 2013. Employees who held a Bachelor’s degree made an average of 58% more per week, while those with a Master’s degree or higher made up to 100% more per week. You will qualify for more career opportunities. The Recovery 2020 report published by Georgetown University found that through the year 2020 “most jobs will require some type of post-secondary education, and individuals that only possess a high school diploma will have fewer employment options.” For more key findings about going back to school now, check out the Pew Research article on the cost of not going to college. You may also want to review Forbes’ recent article that includes PayScale’s top 25 return on investment colleges.
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