Higher education is often synonymous with more professional opportunities. There's also a strong correlation between more formal schooling and lower unemployment, according to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. In March 2006, high school graduates had a nationwide unemployment rate of 4.6 percent -- a rate that plummeted to 3.9 percent for associate degree holders and 2.2 percent for those with a bachelor's degree or higher.
Not surprisingly, investing in post-high school education can also have a strong impact on salary. While high school graduates with no college education collect an average weekly salary of $583, according to Current Population Survey data, that figure jumps nearly 15 percent to $670 for associate degree holders.