Tour promotes the value of higher education to Missouri students, business and community leaders
University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor Leo E. Morton brought the University of Missouri System Show Me Value Tour to the Kansas City area Dec. 2 and 3, with visits to King Elementary School in the Kansas City Public School District, and Center Middle School in the Center School District. The tour, originated by the UM System, is designed to demonstrate the indisputable value of a college education.
Morton discussed both the personal and societal benefits of obtaining a college degree with fourth, fifth and sixth grade students on Dec. 2 at King Elementary School. He spoke with two groups of eighth-graders at Center Middle School on Dec. 3.
“A college education is your greatest opportunity for a successful life,” Morton said. “You get something no one can take away from you. So start thinking about a career now and what education is needed so you are prepared.”
Focused on communicating the value of higher education to Missouri’s elementary, middle and high school students, Morton used his time with the students to talk about the innumerable benefits of going to college. He also stressed the importance of staying focused on their studies now.
Morton also addressed college expense. He said the cost of a college education should not deter them from achieving their dreams. He explained that the consequences of not going to college outweigh the worry of paying off student debt. For instance, a person with a college degree will make nearly twice as much in his or her lifetime as someone with a high school diploma. And the rate of return on a college degree is about 15 percent – compared to the stock market at around 7 percent and the housing market at 0.4 percent.
At the four campuses of the University of Missouri System, about eight of 10 students also get some form of financial aid.
Morton told the students a college education will allow them to discover their talents, hone their strengths, think creatively and strategically, and learn to work in teams, which are all skills needed in today’s workforce, regardless of the job. College graduates also lead healthier, longer lives, on average.
“Growing up in the segregated South during the Civil Rights era, I couldn’t have imagined that I would go on to become a business and university leader, thanks to my college education,” Morton said. “I urge all Missouri students to think about college when they consider their future. Whatever their life ambition, a college education can truly help make their dreams a reality – and we as a society will be better off for it.”