What’s better than an ag degree? An ag degree with scholarship assistance from the Murray Wise Foundation

One of the rewarding aspects of my career is the opportunity to help promising agriculture students finance their education through the Murray Wise Associates Foundation scholarships. We’re approaching the March 31 deadline for new applicants, and I’m hoping we get a large number of applicants.

Eligible applicants include high school seniors accepted for enrollment at an accredited college, university or community college in a course of study related to agriculture. Awards are for a minimum of $1,000 and may be renewed yearly for up to four years, provided certain conditions are met. Recipients are selected based on financial need and academic credentials, including class rank, grade point average and test scores.

Is it worth it?

A lot of people are currently questioning whether, at today’s costs, a college education is a worthwhile investment in terms of future job prospects. But I think most of us realize that the answer may differ a great deal depending on the degree. Last year, from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce documented a reality many of us have known for years — that an agriculture degree translates into bright prospects for a fulfilling career.  Here’s a link to the study, but here’s what jumped out at me:

  • Only 7 percent of those with an ag degree were unemployed, compared to 13.9 percent of those with a degree in architecture, 8.9 percent of those in social science, and 11.1 percent of those in the arts.
  • Only two fields of study — education and health — had lower unemployment rates than agriculture and natural resources.
  • It gets better with experience. For experienced college graduates, those in agriculture had only a 3.5 percent unemployment rate — better than any field except health.