As the cost to attain a college degree continues to grow, the need for a college degree grows even larger. We all want financial stability and believe in economic empowerment. Getting a college degree plays into both of those things and is worth the financial sacrifice. Why you ask? Because the pay gap between college grads and those without a college degree is real. In 2015 college graduates earned 51% more than high school grads. The largest gap since 1973. So the need to embrace higher education as a tool to a brighter future is vital, even if some have doubt.

In a survey conducted by New America, participants shared that they still believe in the potential of higher education. 42% of participants believe that most people who enroll in higher education benefit. 33% believe that its much harder to find a good paying job compared to when our parents went to college. Outside data has also suggested that 93 percent of parents want to see their children go to college. Americans view college as a necessity and want their kids to see college as being worth it. To increase the value of a good education, some universities have taken innovative approaches to putting students first and not rankings.

Schools like Georgia State University have placed more effort into promoting student success at the expense of their ranking. But what’s more important, a ranking or providing students access and encouraging success? Georgia State isn’t the only school taking this approach. Other universities have partnered together to create Achieving The Dream and the University Innovation Alliance. Both organizations are committed to providing students access and promoting student success.

With a commitment from higher education to put students first, students must continue to view college as being worth it. 

By the year 2020, 65 percent of all American jobs will require workers to have some kind of post high school education or training. And 68% of people agree or strongly agree that having a professional certificate or degree beyond high school is essential to getting a good job. A college degree is worth it because it sets you apart and provides opportunities that having only a high school diploma won’t. 

Now that we can confidently say that college is worth it, we have to push students to enroll and take advantage of the readily available sites that allow them to apply to more than one school for the price of one college admissions application. For example, the Common Black College Application allows students to apply to any number of HBCUs for jus $35. So encourage those young scholars to take advantage of opportunities to make the transition to college easier and encourage them to continue to see college is worth the sacrifice. 

The views in this piece reflect those of Blavity, with funding provided by the Gates Foundation