How a College Education Promotes an Improved Quality of Living, Even After Graduation

Jan. 30, 2014.  If you’re suffering from limited economic opportunities, a college diploma remains your most reliable means of emerging from such stagnation. According to Pew Research, the average adult with a bachelor’s degree earns a total of $1.42 million over the course of his or her lifetime career, compared with a mere $770,000 for the average high school graduate lacking any further education. But the benefits of a college education certainly do not stop there. College graduates enjoy a number of lifelong benefits, including lower divorce rates, better overall health and ultimately, longer lives. Clearly, college attendance (and more importantly, graduation) remains a worthwhile endeavor in the 21st century.

Fewer Divorces

High rates of divorce remain an unfortunate reality in the United States, with research from the National Vitals Statistics System pointing to a 6.8 percent rate of divorce (per 1,000 individuals) in 2011. However, while the overall divorce rate is higher than what most consider ideal, it is not equally high across all demographics. In fact, college graduates enjoy a surprisingly low divorce rate, with a study from Bowling Green State University highlighting an impressive divorce rate of just 14.2 per 1,000 respondents—over the entire course of their marriage.

Comparatively, those who graduate from high school but fail to complete college suffer from a divorce rate of more than 20 per 1,000. Divorce rates remain relatively high for those who have taken a few courses but failed to complete college. Thus, it’s worth your while to make a concerted effort to stick to a reasonable graduation timeline.

Improved Exercise Habits

Despite common notions of the freshman “15,” college students and college graduates actually engage in much healthier habits than their non-college counterparts. College graduates are more likely to engage in regular exercise and, as a result, report far lower rates of hypertension, liver disease and diabetes than those who have never attended college, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control. Many make a point of establishing these healthy habits while still in college. You don’t have to go it alone, however. Resources such as College Online LLC and CollegeAdmissionsAdvisors offer plenty of helpful tools and advice for those striving to balance online courses with busy work schedules, in-person classes and behaviors that establish healthy lifestyle habits.

Longer Lives

You’ve spent the last few decades eating veggies, abstaining from cigarettes and engaging in physical activity several times a week. These habits remain wonderful health regimens but when it comes to expanding your life expectancy, enrolling in college may be your best move. According to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, college grads live, on average, five years longer than those who fail to complete high school. Although the difference between life expectancy for college graduates and high school graduates is not quite as vast, the statistics make it clear: Greater educational achievement translates to a longer life.