Most people are motivated to get a college degree for economic reasons - to get a better job and make more money, but here are some other ways that higher education leads to a better future for all.
1. Economic. It is well known that a college degree increases income, and that a bachelors degree can add a million dollars or more to a person's lifetime income. A graduate or professional degree adds more.
Perhaps more important is the fact that an educated population increases the economic potential of a nation The U.S. is the worldwide leader in higher education programs and the future of the U.S. economy rests on the ability to educate a greater percentage of the population. This was highlighted in President Obama's recent state of the union address.
2. Saving the Environment. College educated people are more environmentally conscious and more likely to participate in recycling and conservation programs (although more affluent people do tend to use more resources, consume more goods, etc.).
One could also argue that rescuing our diminishing environment is only going to be achieved through scientific breakthroughs - developing clean alternative energies, increasing food production, and access to clean water, reducing poverty, etc.