Effects of Higher Education
A 2014 survey of American public school teachers conducted by Primary Sources: A Project of Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shows that 98% of these educators say that teaching is how they make a difference in the world.
Some of the areas of quantifiable difference related to higher education which have been uncovered by researchers include:
Data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that for full-time workers over the age of 25 overall earnings increase with each level of education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data also indicate a lower unemployment rate for workers for each level of education.
Research shows a correlation between health and education. Higher education is linked to lower risks of heart disease and diabetes. In a review of data from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study Cutler and Lleras-Muney find that higher education increases life expectancy by as much as .18 year for each year of school.
Benefits to Children
Livingston and Cohn point out that research has found a strong correlation between child well-being and the educational levels of the mother. The positive effects on the children are seen in factors ranging from healthier birth weights to higher academic levels of achievement.
Increased Civic Engagement
Researcher Brand notes that many studies confirm a correlation between civic participation or civic engagement, which can range from involvement in volunteer organizations to campaigning for political candidates, from delivering meals for Meals on Wheels to coaching a Little League team.
Increased Global Economic Output
A study by Barro and Lee for the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that global economic output increases as numbers of college graduates increase. Increases in numbers of college graduates correspond to increases in the global economy.
Barrow, R.J. and Lee, J.-W., from Harvard University and the Asian Development Bank as cited in Wilson, D. Education’s Ties to the Economy. Bloombergview.com. Bloomberg News. May 18, 2010. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-05-18/college-graduates-to-make-global-economy-more-productive-chart-of-the-day.html
Brand, J. “Civic Returns to Higher Education: A Note on Heterogeneous Effects.” Social Forces. Vol. 89. Issue 82. 2010. http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/89/2/417
Cutler, D. and Lleras-Muney, A. Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence (NBER Working Paper No. 12352), The National Bureau of Economic Research. The Effects of Health. http://www.nber.org/digest/mar07/w12352.html
Earnings and Unemployment Projections by Educational Attainment. (2012) Employment Projections. United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
Livingston, G. and Cohn, D. “Record Share of New Mothers Are College Educated.” PewResearch Social & Demographic Trends. May 10, 2013. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/10/record-share-of-new-mothers-are-college-educated/
Primary Sources: A Project of Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Third Edition. America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change. 2014. http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources/index.htm