In the year 2021, it was found that over 94 million Americans (42%) are degree-educated. A staggering amount when you consider that just 60 years ago, the percentage was closer to 7.7%. That said, there are still plenty of detractors - those who deem higher education a waste of time and, indeed, money. If you’re an aspiring business person or entrepreneur deliberating over whether to study, then it’s worth doing your own research - for each person, the benefits may differ.
The great stumbling block when going to college these days is, of course, the sometimes-eye-watering tuition fees. A private 4-year tuition fee costs on average $36,880 - that’s up by about 8% in just 4 years. What this number doesn’t connote is the help that a student receives in affording the costs - a student can usually borrow between $5,500 - $12,500 a year in federal loans (conditional on year and dependency status). You won’t require good credit to apply, you can pay through income and you can defer payments for up to three years if you’re struggling with economic hardship.
If you’re someone interested in business, you’ll probably be looking at higher education in terms of investment. So, the question is, ‘does a college degree represent good ROI?’ According to most statistics, the answer is ‘yes’ but this can be slightly more complicated than it may appear. The popularization of college has led to a shift away from blue-collar jobs, meaning that some typically underpaid professions are now level with office work. It’s also true that post-graduation salaries fluctuate depending on the course. Before you make any decisions, it’s worth doing your research and learning about how your chosen degree will pay for itself in the long-term - most do!
When we talk about independence, we talk about self-sufficiency and being in a position to help others, not only with money but also with skills and knowledge. College differs quite drastically from high school in that your learning is mostly in your own hands - due to the structure of courses, many graduates find they attain a greater sense of independence during their studies. Confidence to ‘go your own way’ is key for anyone looking to one day own a business or succeed as an entrepreneur.
If you’re thinking about starting your own business or you have an idea for a product, then a degree can decrease your reliance on others and empower you to succeed as a solopreneur. Many businessmen choose accounting degrees, for example, as these can help you to develop financial knowledge that will aid in the running of the business, whilst also qualifying you to handle marketing, economics, finances, or business ethics.
For anyone looking to succeed in business, the importance of networking cannot be understated. A course in higher education can often be the incubator for new connections and, via college courses, the business communities of the future are often formed. Just by attending, you will be positioned to access professional circles and peers working across industry, meaning a stronger, wider network of associates after you graduate. Crucially, you’ll also be able to stay informed on current business matters and clued in on any new trends as they arise.
The advantages of college networking often prove to be more direct - many universities have their own venture funds and startup incubators, for example. You may also find venture capitalists or angel investors who target colleges with the intent of investing in young companies. Even if you’re a mature student, the college environment can prove an excellent starting ground for a company. After all, the more people you can put yourself in contact with, the more you can spread awareness of yourself and your business.
The benefits of attending higher education are numerous for any aspiring businessman, even more so for entrepreneurs. If you’re looking to kickstart your career, don’t hesitate to get stuck in and research hard for the right course.
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