A higher education can lead to many opportunities.

Why go to college?  There are so many reasons why a higher education can improve your life. A big reason is because there is a strong connection between education and future income. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there is a positive trend between a higher degree and salary.

The below graph shows on the left that people with a higher degree in the U.S. earned a higher weekly salary in 2020 than those without one. The salary amount also increases as an individual’s education level increases. On the right side of the graph, it shows that the rate of unemployment in 2020 went down with a higher degree. The higher the education level a person has, the lower the unemployment rate was for them.

For Pacific Islanders, a college education can be the tool to navigate towards a brighter future.

The educational attainment of the U.S. population is not the same for every ethnic group. Pacific Islanders in general have had a lower educational attainment than other racial groups for many years. The below graph shows the estimated percentage of the 4 largest Pacific Islander ethnic groups in the country who have not attended college.

In the State of Hawaii, the educational attainment of Pacific Islanders follows a similar trend as the larger United States.

The below graph shows educational attainment for people 25 years of age and older in Hawaii for the year 2018. The highlighted lines show educational attainment for the five largest Pacific Islander ethnic groups in Hawaii in 2018 (Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Marshallese, Guamanian or Chamorro, and Tongan).

Conversely the Poverty Rates for Pacific Islanders in Hawaii in 2018 were relatively higher compared to other ethnic groups. The below graph shows the percentage of families and individuals living in poverty. The highlighted lines show the poverty percentage for the five largest Pacific Islander ethnic groups in Hawaii in 2018 (Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Marshallese, Guamanian or Chamorro, and Tongan).

A college education can lead to exciting opportunities to pursue a career field that you are passionate about. It can also broaden your perspective because you meet new people, learn about a wide array of topics, and may even have study abroad opportunities. Growing as a person and gaining knowledge is another lasting benefit.

"E pala le ma’a a e le pala upu."

Even stones decay but words endure.

- Samoan Proverb