The 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics report "Education Pays..." illustrates that higher earnings and lower unemployment rates are often reported among bachelor's degree holders, compared to those with only a high school diploma. The 2010 median weekly earnings for bachelor's degree holders was $1,038, compared to just $626 for those with only a high school diploma.
Despite such clear benefits to earning a college degree, many students are not prepared for education beyond high school. In fact, according to data from the 2011 Pew Research Center report "Is College Worth It?," 58 percent of college presidents say high school students are coming to college less prepared than they were 10 years ago.
Because of these figures and the United States' falling rank among developed countries for college completion rates, many lawmakers have recommended efforts to increase the number of young adults with a college degree.
Some institutions are already working with high school educators to teach students about the importance of preparing for college. DeVry University's HerWorld program was designed to provide young women with the tools they need to be better prepared to succeed in college, empowering them to reach their full potential. HerWorld also introduces young women to in-demand careers of the 21st century, including those in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
STEM workers earn 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts. By exposing them to female leaders in STEM, HerWorld teaches young women that they can succeed alongside men in these positions, and gives the women a checklist for preparing to get there.