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The Biggest Waste of Money

Aug 28, 2014

By Nick Rothacher
Scholarship Program Manager

Last month, U.S. News reported that approximately 31 million adults in the U.S. have some college but no degree. That's nearly 10% of Americans that started down a path in life and were unable to complete what they started.

The biggest waste of money is paying for an education but never graduating. That's equivalent to making car payments but never owning or driving the car. Or making mortgage payments but never getting to live in or enjoy a new house.

An analysis of Labor Department statistics showed "Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree." Completing a college degree isn't just about making more money, either. Studies have shown that a college degree:

  • Helps you move through the screening process that employers use in the hiring process. Just having a degree will qualify you for jobs you may not otherwise be qualified for.
  • Is cyclical across generations, which means your kids are more likely to go to college if you do.
  • Helps provide greater economic stability and security.
  • Is linked to prestigious employment and greater job satisfaction.
  • Reduces the likelihood of dependency on government assistance.
  • Is tied to higher participation in leisure and artistic activities.
  • Is tied to higher rates of community service and leadership.
  • Results in greater self-confidence and career mobility.

If you are one of the 31 million adults with some college but no degree, it's time to finish what you started and not let your hard-earned money go to waste. Check out what students at Western Governors University are saying about their experience, and how, in a recent survey, the average WGU graduated reported an increase in income of $9,000 in the first one to three years after graduation.

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