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Phoenix Forward

5 reasons to finish your degree

Finishing your degree can pay off

Getting an education while juggling work and family is not easy. Though you might be tempted to quit, there are good reasons to stay on track:

Many available jobs require a degree.

Although the overall U.S. unemployment rate remains high, there is a shortage of skilled workers. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 3.7 million jobs are currently going unfilled in the United States.

That presents a golden opportunity for educated job seekers, according to Caroline Molina-Ray, PhD, executive director of research and publications at the University of Phoenix Industry Strategy Group.

“Of all jobs in the 30 highest-growth occupations, half are in health care, including nursing,” she says. Other growth industries are information technology, engineering and business.

You’ll get a return on investment.

The numbers don’t lie — workers holding a bachelor’s degree or higher earn far more over the course of their lifetimes than those who don’t. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with at least a bachelor’s degree earn an average weekly paycheck of $1,053, versus $638 for those with only a high school diploma.

You’ve already paid your tuition.

If you drop out of school, you may be responsible for tuition on courses you registered for — often whether you complete them or not. Plus, without your degree or certificate in hand, you’ll miss out on the financial return, according to Molina-Ray.

You’ll enjoy personal growth.

Advancing your education won’t just fatten your paycheck — it can also boost your personal growth, according to University of Phoenix research findings.

The University surveyed more than 6,700 students who worked at Fortune 1000 companies and used company tuition-assistance programs to pay for school. “Ninety-one percent of respondents said pursuing higher education promoted their personal development,” Molina-Ray notes.

A degree can help support your family.

The people who love you most can also benefit from your education, especially the increased financial rewards it can bring. So it stands to reason they’d want to see you finish that degree. “If your family is supporting your educational efforts, they are likely encouraging and expecting you to graduate,” Molina-Ray says.

Not only that, but family and academic success are directly linked — especially for nontraditional students, according to research conducted at University of Phoenix. “Seventy-eight percent of adult students in our survey reported that their spouse or significant other provided effective support,” Molina-Ray says, “and 67 percent said the same about their children.”