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What Can I Do With a BGS Degree?

A Bachelor of General Studies degree from Arkansas State University is becoming increasingly popular, especially among online students, and the benefits of the BGS degree may surprise you.

Higher Salary

Most people understand that a bachelor’s degree has financial benefits. However, many are unaware of just how much difference a bachelor’s degree can make. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, “In 2013 median earnings for young adults with a bachelor’s degree were $48,500, compared with $23,900 for those without a high school credential, $30,000 for those with a high school credential, and $37,500 for those with an associate’s degree.” In other words, students who earn a bachelor’s degree can expect to make twice as much as they would with only a high school diploma.

Further, the BGS degree can be a stepping stone for additional education, which translates to even more compensation. From the years 2000 to 2013, workers with a master’s degree consistently earned around $10,000 more per year than their counterparts with only a bachelor’s degree and around $25,000 more a year than those with only an associate degree.

Lesser-Known Benefits

While increased earnings potential is a common reason many pursue a bachelor’s degree online, there are other, less-tangible benefits. In 2013, the College Board published “Education Pays,” a study that examined other factors that a college education influences. The results are surprising.


The researchers behind the study looked at the percentage of workers who had health insurance. It found that, “Among both full-time and part-time workers, those with higher levels of educational attainment are more likely than others to be covered by employer-provided health insurance.” In 2011, only 55 percent of full-time, year-round employees with a high school diploma had coverage related to an employer’s healthcare plan. Among those with a bachelor’s degree, that number rose to 74 percent .


The same study looked at voter turnout for the 2012 election. It showed, “The voting rate of 25- to 44-year-old four-year college graduates (73 percent) was 1.7 times as high as the voting rate of high school graduates (42 percent) in the same age group.”

Time with Family

An interesting trend emerged when the College Board investigated mothers’ time with their children. The study shows that, “Employed mothers with four-year college degrees report spending about 51 percent more time (113 minutes vs. 75 minutes per day) on their children’s activities than employed mothers who are high school graduates. Among those who are not employed, the difference is about 42 percent (188 minutes vs. 132 minutes per day).” Even college-educated mothers who do not work report spending nearly twice as much time with their children than mothers who also do not work and hold only a high school diploma.

Classes Pay Dividends

One of the interesting findings from this study is the benefit of taking even only a few courses toward a BGS degree. The same patterns held for those who attended college but did not graduate: they consistently earned more, were more likely to have insurance, and spent more time with their families.

Learn more about the A-State online BGS degree program.


National Center for Education Statistics: Income of Young Adults

College Board: the Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society

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