2. TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY—If your parents live in poverty, or you are born into it, chances are greater that you will live in poverty, too. And not only does being poor strain your finances, but it also affects your health and can lead to chronic illnesses and low cognitive skills. Traditionally, though, receiving a college education leads to higher-paying jobs. And careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields especially have the ability to lift families out of poverty, since graduates can potentially earn a six-figure salary upon graduation.