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Returning to College to Complete a Degree

January 06, 2022

Earning a bachelor’s degree is no small undertaking. It’s understandable that many people end up putting college on hold to take care of family, job, or health issues. A bachelor’s degree, however, provides important advantages as you seek out new opportunities and professional advancement. Read on to explore the financial, professional, and personal benefits of returning to college to complete a degree.

Why Complete a Degree? Economic Advantage.

For many people, returning to college to complete a degree is a choice that comes down to earning potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), even when the economy is thriving, employees who have completed higher education typically earn more money and have lower rates of unemployment than those who haven’t. In 2020—the most recent year for which the BLS has published data—professionals with bachelor’s degrees, working full-time, earned a median weekly income of $1,305 ($67,860 per year), while those who had completed some college but no degree earned $877 ($45,604 per year). Concurrently, those with bachelor’s degrees experienced an unemployment rate of 5.5%, while those with some college credits but no degree faced 8.3% unemployment.1

ZipRecruiter estimates that the median annual salary for someone with an associate’s degree is $46,000,2 while a person with a bachelor’s degree earns $60,000.3 In some regions, due to the local job markets, the gap is even larger. In Chico, for example, a bachelor’s degree could earn you nearly $21,000 more than a job that only requires an associate degree.2,3

Quality-of-Life Benefits Made Accessible by a Bachelor’s Degree

As if money weren’t a compelling enough reason for returning to college, jobs that require an undergraduate education often provide advantages beyond salary. These benefits are essential in improving quality of life—not only for employees but for their families, now and in the future. They include:

  • Paid time off for vacation and healthcare
  • Access to better health insurance for employees and their dependents
  • Access to life insurance
  • Employer-subsidized, long-term savings and investment plans
  • Opportunities to continue advancing education and professional training

In addition, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many professionals with bachelor’s degrees and above have successfully made the transition into working from home, full-time and part-time. This has yielded numerous important benefits, as noted in The New York Times:4

Money saved
Global Workplace Analytics estimated that people could save an average of $2,000-$6,500 every year by not spending on things such as gasoline and daycare.

Better health
Working from home can help keep employees safe from communicable diseases (including but not limited to COVID-19), and can afford them more time for fitness.

Less time on the road
Commuting by car has been linked to increased stress, more pollution and increased respiratory problems. According to an analysis by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the average American who drives to work spends 54 hours per year stuck in traffic.

Greater job satisfaction
A 2005 study found that job satisfaction increased with each additional hour people spent working remotely.

Greater productivity
One well-known study led by California professor Nicholas Bloom found that remote employees of a Chinese travel agency were 13% more efficient than their office-based peers.

A cleaner environment
According to estimates from research and consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics, if everyone in the United States worked remotely half of the time, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle travel by more than 51 million metric tons a year. The reduction in air pollution and clearer skies over major cities such as Los Angeles have been among the bright spots of life since the pandemic began.

Professional Advantages of Returning to College

People returning to college often find benefit in having waited to do so, as the maturity they’ve gained helps them see the true value of their bachelor’s degree curriculum. Courses in areas such as finance, communication, and leadership, for example, provide skills and expertise that are relevant in a wide array of professional pursuits. In completing your Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) online at Chico State, you’ll find that your coursework is immediately applicable to your current job.

Additionally, relationship-building and networking often get easier as we gain life experience. By returning to college to complete a degree at a highly ranked institution with an international network of alumni, you put yourself in the best position to take advantage of career fairs, networking workshops, and other opportunities offered by your university’s career center.

When you return to college as a student in Chico State’s Online BSBA completion program, you’ll have access to:

Virtual employment events
Workshops, alumni panels, hiring fairs, and other online opportunities to polish your presentation skills and choose the best place to land after graduation.

Diversity career resources
Chico State is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and to serving ALL students. We work to educate our recruiting partners on the importance of fair and equitable hiring practices.

Resume and cover letter coaching
Our career advisors are here to help you learn what to include and how to fine-tune it so that hiring managers always see you at your best.

Career planning
Our full suite of interactive online tools and assessments help you clarify your goals, explore occupations, and make informed career decisions.

Career fairs
Connect with employers in diverse fields, learn about internship and employment opportunities, and share your resume with people who are looking to hire.

The Chico State virtual help desk
Visit our career services staff via Zoom at your convenience. Bring your questions about the job search, upcoming events, and your best next steps as you move up the ladder.

The New College Experience: Online, on Your Schedule

Time and money are often driving factors when people leave school and the biggest barriers preventing them from coming back. Today, however, returning to college doesn’t have to mean

quitting your job or navigating a new campus. In the Chico State Online BSBA program, you’ll complete your degree online, from home or anywhere with an internet connection. You’ll enjoy the long-term benefits of a multi-faceted curriculum and opportunities to engage with faculty and peers—just as you would have in an on-campus program.

Finish Strong at Chico State

Chico State’s Online BSBA program empowers you with all the benefits of a nationally recognized academic institution—delivered in a flexible format that fits your schedule. Offered 100% online, the BSBA provides a business-focused curriculum that prepares you for new career opportunities and expanded salary potential.

We’re committed to your success. To learn more about how you can graduate with your bachelor’s degree in as few as 19 months, reach out to one of our Admissions Advisors today.