A recent Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) study explored the payoff of higher education in Tennessee and concluded that higher education pays, said Dr. MaryLou Apple, Motlow College president. Apple said a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that by 2018, 54 percent of jobs in Tennessee will require education beyond high school, and in some states that percentage is as high as 70 percent. “The report also states that by 2018, Tennessee will have 967,000 job vacancies, and that 516,000 of those jobs will require post-secondary credentials,” she said. “We must have a sense of urgency in addressing the need for higher education if the state is to continue attracting business and industry. We must let our young people know the value of a college education and how it can improve their chances for higher paying jobs.” Apple said the highest salaries among students earning associate degrees or certificates are earned in select fields, including nursing, engineering, technology, law enforcement, business computer programming, medical laboratory technology, emergency medical technician, and mechatronics. The unemployment rate for high school graduates with no college was 9.4 percent, and for workers without a high school diploma, 14.1 percent – more than twice the unemployment rate of workers with an associate’s degree. Apple said Motlow College offers a wide variety of financial aid options and courses of study that lead to certificates, associate of applied science degrees, and university-parallel associate of arts/sciences degrees. Prospective students can obtain information on Motlow’s website or by visiting one of the college’s sites in Moore County, Fayetteville, McMinnville or Smyrna.