Throughout the 20th century, as college-going rates climbed, few questioned the value of a degree in building a successful life. More recently, as costs have soared nationwide, that value has come into question.
In a Pew Research Center survey, only 40 percent of respondents said the value for the money spent on higher education is good or excellent.
But real-world outcomes tell a different story about the importance of college.
In fact, it is more important than ever to possess the knowledge and skills acquired on a college campus.
In 2015, college graduates earned, on average, 56 percent more than high school graduates — the largest gap the Economic Policy Institute has ever found in almost half a century of polling.
Since the “great recession” began in 2007, the employment advantage for college grads has only grown.
In the past decade, the number of employed college grads has risen 21 percent, while the number of employed people with only a high school degree has dropped nearly 8 percent.
In this environment, a youth organization can serve no more important mission than helping to support educational success.
That is one reason why West Virginia University has forged a strategic partnership with the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
We work closely with the Boy Scouts of America because — after more than three decades as a college president, and a lifetime in scouting — I believe this organization inculcates values that promote success.
Values are important because, at every step, they form a framework for the decisions we make — and the actions we take. The best decisions will always be the ones that reflect our core values.
Education is about finding your purpose and making sure your choices serve that purpose.
I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who devotes time and energy to scouting. It is because of your dedication, that our young people are succeeding.
And in partnership, it is up to us to make sure our youth are ready for college and for the life they will pursue.
E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University