Is College Worth the Time and Money?

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In Owen and Sawhill’s essay “Should Everyone Go to College?” they talk about how everyone should have the opportunity to go to college and it can be an important way of life, but college is not a smart investment for everyone. Owen and Sawhill’s main argument are by pressuring kids to go to college, parents are risking putting their children in debt for the rest of their lives. Although, expensive having a college education can be an essential part of life where one can fit into society and have values, added knowledge, and life structure it can be a decision either for the good or the bad. To better understand this essay Owen and Sawhill give examples by using logos, ethos, and pathos in an effective way to persuade lawmakers to have better tools when comparing schools and show readers the dangers of choosing colleges.

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Owen and Sawhill’s essay appeals not just to parents and students who are attending college but to lawmakers. To see if college is worth it, lawmakers are there to present tools the to the people who plan on attending college. In the essay it states that “study after study reminds us that higher education is one of the best investments we can make, and President Obama has called it an “economic imperative” (Owen and Sawhill 318). Owen and Sawhill show that college is not the only option to be successful in the world, but it can be the key to entering the middle class. The essay looks at the rate of return to education the earnings of $3,000 a year on education, so by getting a four-year degree it adds up to $12,000 on a person’s income (Owen and Sawhill 320). Owen and Sawhill looks at the value of education that is estimated by taking the additional year of schooling along with the increase in earnings. In the reading they state that there are plenty of good paying jobs that do not require a degree from a four-year school. Going to a trade school would the better option for someone who is planning on getting a degree. Every degree is different, and some degrees have higher potential earnings.

School selectivity and cost play a role in the value of the degrees. Some schools that are public institutions are positive in their value. Owen and Sawhill go deeper in explaining the element of calculating the ROI which is an estimate on financial aid, and the return is always expected to change. Owen and Sawhill give an example using one of the most expensive schools Vassar College, which is has an ROI of 6% (Owen and Sawhill 323). An important reminder from the PayScale data is a bachelor’s degree is not always a smart investment.

Owen and Sawhill’s essay routinely use graphs that backups their claim over the pitfalls of attending college. In one of their graphs, they use a chart that compares the work-life earnings to a high school graduate and to each major. The chart is used to prove the key phrase “on average” (Owen & Sawhill 321). This means it does not take the specific calculations. The use of logos was the most effective to have a better appeal to people who are planning on attending college because it is a big decision that needs to be thought out thoroughly. By Owen and Sawhill providing stats, graphs, and charts they are proving that before going to college to do research and look at the options. Although, logos was used the most, Owen and Sawhill used other methods to appeal to lawmakers to create tools when it comes to comparing colleges. Ethos was the next method used to appeal to the audience reading the essay. An example, the chart work-life earnings of bachelor’s degree by occupation was used by the U.S Census to compare that even with by earning a high school diploma someone can make as much as someone with a bachelor’s degree. The findings were “14 percent of people with a high school diploma make at least as much with those with bachelor’s degree, and 17 percent with a bachelor’s degree make more than those with a professional degree” (Owen and Sawhill 327). The use of the example of the chart was an effective use of ethos because it proves the point how college guarantees to make more money in life, but by not going to college a person can make just as much as someone with a high school diploma depending on the chosen career path. The use of ethos was to present their claim on how education is viewed. What a student gets out of a degree depends on the career path. Owen and Sawhill used pathos effectively to argue the emotions

Owen and Sawhill explain that education is a powerful tool that can gives us the knowledge we need but if we use it the wrong way it can turn out to be a waste of money and time. They say that education is important but when considering going to college we need to make sure all the knowledge is there so college can be the most efficient experience. College is not a choice for everyone. They say when it comes to picking colleges it is better to choose an affordable college than one that is expensive because sometimes one may not need to go to an expensive college when it is not necessary. Since, the PayScale is a step in the right direction, it provides information that is valuable to students who are planning on attending college. According to Owen and Sawhill they say that the College ScoreCard is an attempt that can help students make the right choice of choosing the school that is the right fit.

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Is College Worth the Time and Money?. (2020, Mar 31). Retrieved November 28, 2022 , from
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