In today's world, the value of higher education is often measured in terms of economic returns – higher earnings, better job prospects, and increased career opportunities. While these are undoubtedly important factors, they only scratch the surface of the true benefits that higher education brings to individuals and society.

Beyond financial gains, higher education plays a pivotal role in shaping kinder, healthier, and more financially secure citizens.

Increased Critical Thinking Skills

One of the most significant ways higher education contributes to the well-being of individuals is by fostering critical thinking, empathy, and social responsibility. 

Through exposure to diverse perspectives, rigorous academic inquiry, and engagement with complex societal issues, students develop the ability to think critically about the world around them. They learn to question assumptions, challenge conventional wisdom, and empathize with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Strong Social Responsibility

These skills are not only essential for personal growth and fulfillment but also for building a more compassionate and inclusive society. Research has shown that individuals with higher levels of education are more likely to volunteer, participate in community activities, and engage in acts of civic responsibility.1

By instilling a sense of social responsibility and empathy, higher education cultivates citizens who are committed to making a positive difference in their communities and beyond.

Holistic Health and Wellness

Higher education is also intricately linked to better health outcomes. Studies have consistently found a strong correlation between educational attainment and overall health and well-being.2

Individuals with higher levels of education are more likely to adopt healthier behaviors, such as regular exercise, nutritious eating, and avoiding risky behaviors like smoking and excessive drinking. They also have better access to healthcare services and are more proactive in managing their health.

Higher education also equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to navigate complex healthcare systems, make informed decisions about their health, and advocate for themselves and their families. This not only leads to better health outcomes for individuals but also reduces healthcare costs and burdens on society.

Increased Financial Literacy and Financial Wellness

Financial security is another crucial aspect of well-being that is positively impacted by higher education. While it is true that higher education can lead to higher earnings and better job opportunities, its benefits extend far beyond the paycheck. 

Individuals with higher levels of education are more likely to have stable employment, access to employer-sponsored benefits such as healthcare and retirement plans, and opportunities for career advancement and professional development.

Higher education also provides a buffer against economic downturns and layoffs by equipping individuals with diverse skill sets that are in demand across a range of industries. This resilience in the face of economic uncertainty translates into greater financial security and stability for individuals and their families.

In addition to these skills, many colleges and universities are starting to implement financial literacy programs. These customized solutions are tailored to the specific needs of individual students and seamlessly integrated with the schools' sites.

The Broader Benefits of Higher Education

While the economic benefits of higher education are undeniable, its true value lies in its ability to cultivate kinder, healthier, and more financially secure citizens.

By nurturing critical thinking, empathy, and social responsibility, higher education lays the foundation for a more compassionate and inclusive society. Additionally, it contributes to better health outcomes by promoting healthy behaviors and empowering individuals to take control of their well-being. 

Higher education also plays a critical role in ensuring financial security and stability, enabling individuals to weather economic storms and achieve their full potential. As we continue to debate the role of higher education in society, it's important for us to not lose sight of these broader benefits that extend far beyond career readiness and higher earnings.



1 - Civic Returns to Higher Education: A Note on Heterogeneous Effects

2 - Archives of Public Health "The influence of education on health: an empirical assessment of OECD countries for the period 1995–2015"