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A group of four students, three men and one woman, walking through a tree-shaded walkway together.

Earning a College Degree Amid the Great Resignation

Todd Penner

It’s no secret that the past few years have transformed the employment landscape. Contending with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, employees have taken on greater bargaining power, pushing for better work conditions and reevaluating the professional trajectories that will best serve their goals and wellbeing. Across industries, this has led to a record number of people leaving their jobs, a phenomenon that’s become known as the Great Resignation.

In response, individual companies are stepping up efforts to attract and retain talent. Increasingly, this includes recruiting a more diverse group of candidates: looking beyond the Ivy League and flagship state universities, prioritizing the life experiences of graduates from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. This trend represents a historic opportunity both for would-be employees who have been traditionally overlooked and for the industries which – often by their own design – have been missing out on the perspective, innovation, and value this population can bring to the table.

As we welcome our 19th class of Dell Scholars, we are more confident than ever that a bachelor’s degree will help prepare them with the skills, networks, and experience to take advantage of this moment. Employers are opening their eyes to the competitive advantages that graduates like our Dell Scholars have to offer.

Higher education can represent a pathway to prosperity for students and their families. According to a study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, a bachelor’s degree recipient in the United States will earn approximately $1.3 million more over the course of a lifetime than a high school graduate. And as this moment underscores, a bachelor’s degree can also equip graduates to access new opportunities for fulfilling work, to build careers that make for a meaningful life.

Ultimately, we benefit as a society when people are limited only by their ambitions – not by their racial or socioeconomic background. College can be the first step toward unlocking their potential.