Why It Matters

Rewards of Staying in School


The biggest reward for staying in school is higher lifetime earning power. The average earnings of full-time, year-round workers 18 and older with an advanced degree (bachelor’s degree or higher) in 2012 was $82,720. Workers whose highest degree was a bachelor’s had mean earnings of $70,432. Mean earnings for full-time, year-round workers with a high school diploma (includes GED certificate) was $41,248, while workers with less than a ninth grade education had $26,679 average earnings.

A college education is a critical investment in our children’s future.
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The Reality

First-generation students coming from low-income families with a lack of a college-bound tradition in the home typically share challenges that make it more difficult to earn a degree. The common threads include less academic preparation before college, financial challenges and a lack of information.

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Combining the pressures of cultural differences, or expectations to help support the family’s financial needs, these students can be pulled in a variety of difficult directions, which may prevent them from becoming involved in their new campus life, or getting academic support early on.

That is why we all just must work together to help support and create a generation of college-bound students. When one person in a family earns a college degree, it paves the ways for others in the family—and in the community—to know it’s possible.

If we can encourage and aid an older brother or sister to graduate from college, he or she will be a springboard to help others in the family to take the same journey. From one comes many.


BACHELOR DEGREESAccording to current statistics, as few as eight percent of Pico Rivera residents over 25 years old have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Compare this to 27.5 percent of United States residents who have earned a Bachelor’s degree. You can see that Pico Rivera has a way to go to reach the national average.

Pico Rivera residents with a high school degree and/or some college age 25 and up is 66.8% versus the 81.0% of residents nationally. Additionally, only 11% of Pico Rivera residents have a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 30.5% of those living throughout America.

Almost half of Los Angeles 9th graders won’t graduate high school. Of those who are admitted to college, a majority will not receive a degree. By 2025, 40% of jobs in California will require a bachelor’s degree, and there will be a projected gap of 2.3 million degree holders.

The Solution

Helping a child reach his or her academic potential comes with many societal benefits, such as a more robust economy and less dependence on social services.