So much for that becoming-a-college-graduate-solves-everything mantra: “About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years,” reports the Associated Press in a new story.
I’m a huge advocate of promoting college education, but I think there’s a disconnect between society’s promotion and the reality. We don’t talk enough about the trade-offs it involves, such as the years spent in college, the loans taken out, the money spent. And we tend to to brush aside annoying realities such as that certain majors tend to lead to significantly higher incomes, as I look at in my USA Today piece today. As we all saw last fall, a lot of the Occupy anger seemed to center on student loans that the Occupiers couldn’t see a way to pay back. As student loans keep increasing, expect to see more such anger. That’s not to say it’s justifiable — any sensible person would have looked seriously at what kind of payments they would have to make on those loans, and what the job prospects were in his field — but it would be helpful to our society if more of the college conversation was more realistic, and gave more acknowledgment to the financial risks one takes in attending more expensive colleges or majoring in something less practical.