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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/11/16

Does a Degree Lead to Economic Mobility?

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Economic mobility is all one of the goals of any anybody who comes from a low-income family. The idea that one can improve their economic status is a dream believed to ensure less stress and a better lifestyle to those who achieve them. But how to pull this off is a question that keeps many people awake on a daily basis.

There are many professed ways to accomplish economic mobility, and earning a degree in a university is among them. It has been claimed that those who managed it are bound to see an increase in their income and a consequent higher social status. But while it can happen to some people, it doesn't happen all the time or to everybody.

Universities became mandatory to many

There is a single book saying that you must go to university if you want to be someone in life. The truth is that there are several examples of people who never been there or that have dropped out so to become millionaires, even billionaires -- see the examples of Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and Michael Dell, just to name a few.

And yet you will hear almost all parents urging their children to enrol in a university so to ensure that they won't be living on the streets, even though there are no guarantees that it will work. Actually, the benches of the parks are very well occupied by people with degrees, who share them with people who can barely read.

Degrees can cost a lot of money

Another thing that has been making hard to people use a degree as a way to achieve economic mobility is the price of third-level education. Going to university can cost a small fortune, from tuition fees and the support of writing services such as LordOfPapers to accommodation and personal needs.

And despite the offer of student loans from governmental, private, and non-profits organizations, the fact is that, if they get it, the student will leave university with a huge debt upon their head, which gives to them very little chance to look for a decent job and to focus on their career -- they just go for the first thing that they can find.

No guarantee of jobs

It is also important to take into consideration our current economic situation. The world is changing its approach to jobs, and several countries are going through a crisis that has been leading to a decrease in the job opportunities. It is long gone the time when leaving a university with a degree would mean that a well-paid job would be waiting for you.

Many people have also been forced to leave their countries looking for better opportunities. Others have changed their approach to employment, becoming entrepreneurs or freelancers so to expand their possibilities to have an income and still work in the field they have studied.

The myth of reputable universities

Many people think that going to a reputable university will ensure that they will increase their economic status overnight. But while is true that it can make a difference, it is also true that it is very hard to be accepted to one of them in the first place.

Low-income students aren't the majority of those sitting on the chairs of Harvard, Cambridge, or Oxford. What you will find there are representatives of the higher classes of society, those who managed to go to the best schools available in the country (not rarely to public schools) and never had to think about working and studying at the same time. They had access to all necessary resources so to improve their skills, kept body and soul healthy, and could come up with the financial guarantees asked during the selection process.

Yes, top-class universities do offer grants and scholarships to exceptional candidates, but there aren't many that can fit in this category, unfortunately. And this is why, despite any good intentions that they might have, these institutions don't contribute to economic mobility.

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Kerry Creaswood is a young and ambitious writer from Savannah, GA. She is interested in self-development, design and marketing.

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