Biden At Virginia High School: College Should Be A Shared, National Investment

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Maury High School in Norfolk. Credit: Virginian PilotJoe Biden addressed students at Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia this morning about the promise of a college education. Part inspiration and part policy stump speech, the vice president laid down some broad and specific strokes about why students should go to college, why the country needs them to, and what the White House is doing to keep higher education accessible.

Here's what Biden said on Why Young People Should go to College:

  • A college degree has real economic worth. Biden said that someone with a four-year degree will earn $21,000 more per year than someone with just a high school degree. Someone with a community college degree will earn $8,000 more.
  • This salary boost "effects where you live, what you can do, whether you can send your kids to school.
  • 60% of jobs in the future will require a degree beyond high school. Even if you are going to be "working on the factory need advanced training just to understand what the news jobs are."
  • Echoing his own father's words, Biden told students: “They can take your job from you, but they can never take your degree from you.”

There is a problem with only emphasizing the individual benefits of a college degree. It gives the false impression that investment in that degree is largely an individual responsibility. This logic is a large part of what has enabled apathy and lack of support for higher education (often in the form of dramatic state budget cuts) to proliferate. Biden was very clear to emphasize the larger importance of an educated population as a national asset.