Emergency Preparedness

Helping or Hurting Higher Education for Students?

These days, it is all too easy to see how rising inflation has affected the budgets of many households and business. According to Polish economics professor Maciej Rycykowski, inflation has changed from being stagnant to a major cause for concern.

With inflation, the money we might earn will be worth less compared to the rising costs of what we want to buy. As a result, there is less money available to spend on other things. Even with wage increases, the extra money has not been enough to offset the effects of inflation.

Now that we see that our paychecks are going not as far as before, that brings up an important question: How can we earn more money?

One potential path is to acquire more knowledge to make ourselves more valuable to a company and worthy of a promotion. Often, this acquisition of knowledge comes from additional education, so many of us have returned to school to further our knowledge and skills.

Related: Going to College for the First Time: What You Need to Know

Higher Education Can Provide People with More Options Despite Inflation

South Korean scholars Sung-Tae Lee and Sun-Moon Jung note that education can often give us more options. They also state that more knowledge can lead to better job satisfaction and it can also be useful if we want to change jobs.

Many adult learners who have added to their educational backgrounds often find themselves with a new perspective on jobs and the ability to pursue a wider number of careers. They might also find a job that is a better fit for their professional interests and abilities.

Related: The Prior Learning Assessment: Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Fewer Adult Learners Returning to Higher Education?

So if higher education is so useful, why are fewer people going back to school and furthering their education right now?

First, the cost of higher education isn’t easy for many aspiring students. As the result of inflation, most people have less money to spend and just cannot afford to go back to school.

Others may not qualify for financial assistance that would allow them to borrow the required funds for further education. Still other potential students might have used up the financial aid put in place to assist them in furthering their education.

Second, employers today have different views on providing educational benefits to employees. Some employers see the value in higher education and provide either partial or full tuition assistance, while other employers do nothing at all.

However, it’s important to remember that businesses are also experiencing the same pains from inflation. As a result, profits might be down and there is less working capital for companies to spare on employees’ education.

Third, educational institutions have also felt the effects of inflation, and their tuition costs have risen significantly. While most schools have been creative and more thoughtful with their own spending, there is not much room for actual decreases in learning costs.

According to a Value in Health article written by scholars Irina Pokhilenko, Luca Janssen, Silvia Evers, Ruben Drost, Lena Schnitzler, and Aggie Paulus, education costs have risen slightly but schools have kept the increase to a minimum to ensure that most students can still afford to attend school.

Higher Education Is a Worthwhile Investment

Many aspiring students are now faced with some tough choices concerning their personal budgets. They have to think harder about their spending choices as the result of less expendable income.

But higher education should be seen as a worthwhile investment rather than an expense. Obtaining a degree can often prove useful over time if we use it correctly.

For instance, higher education can lead to the pursuit of different jobs that may offer an improved income and a more satisfying career path. Ideally, we should all strive to move forward instead of remaining where we are or sliding backwards. Higher education can be the exact tool we all need.

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