That's a great question with lots of answers. Below are some national statistics that also apply to Battle Creek:
Male and female college graduates earn 65% and 71% more, respectively, than high school graduates without a college degree (in 1980 that number was only 19% higher for males and 34% for females).
There is a 44% unemployment rate among youth (ages 16-24) currently not attending high school, or without a high-school diploma (compared to 9% achieving at least a bachelor's degree).
78% of those with a bachelor's degree reported being in excellent health (66% of those with some education beyond high school; 56%, high school education; and 39%, less than a high school education).
54% of recent high school graduates from low-income families pursue post-secondary education, compared to 88% of upper-income graduates.