Chancellor Conveys Value of College Education to Career Magnet School Seniors
Penn State Mont Alto Chancellor Francis K. Achampong talked about the value of a college education and how to make the most of a college experience to 26 graduating seniors, during Chambersburg Career Magnet School’s Decision Day on May 22. The event celebrated seniors who will go to a four-year school, two-year school, or serve in the military after high school, according to event coordinator and Career Magnet Counselor Tracy Elko. Chambersburg Area School District officials, including Superintendent Joe Padasak, were also in attendance.
Achampong talked about the Great Recession of 2007, the collapse of the housing market, and the turmoil that ensued in financial and job markets. “Because of declines in wages, including those of college graduates, there has been an ongoing debate about the value of a college education,” Achampong said. Wages for high-school graduates contracted even more than college graduates, “thus increasing the college premium, and the unemployment rate of college graduates is about half that of high-school graduates,” he said.
Over a lifetime, a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree will earn about $1 million more than a high-school graduate, according to Achampong. For that reason, “A college education is an excellent investment; probably the most important investment you’ll make in your lifetime,” he said.
“College graduates are also more involved in our democracy, live healthier lives, and bring greater intellectual and social capital to their communities,” said Achampong.
He urged the students headed to college to make the most of their college experiences by being engaged, taking advantage of leadership opportunities, participating in co-curricular and cultural activities and events, as well as internships. He encouraged them to cultivate good relationships with faculty, including working with faculty on undergraduate research projects.
“Whether you are headed to post-secondary education or the military, be a lifelong learner and aim to be the best you can be,” Achampong advised.