Phi Beta Cons

Ivy League Graduates on Food Stamps

The latest report from the front lines of the higher-ed bubble comes form the New York Times. Of all the anecdotes I’ve read on this issue, this has to be my all-time favorite:

Stephanie Morales, 23, who graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 with hopes of working in the arts. Instead she ended up waiting tables at a Chart House restaurant in Weehawken, N.J., earning $2.17 an hour plus tips, to pay off her student loans. “What was the point of working so hard for 22 years if there was nothing out there?” said Ms. Morales, who is now a paralegal and plans on attending law school.

Some of Ms. Morales’s classmates have found themselves on welfare. “You don’t expect someone who just spent four years in Ivy League schools to be on food stamps,” said Ms. Morales, who estimates that a half-dozen of her friends are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A few are even helping younger graduates figure out how to apply. “We are passing on these traditions on how to work in the adult world as working poor,” Ms. Morales said.

That’s right — applying for welfare has now become an Ivy League tradition!

Unemployment and underemployment are serious problems in this economy, and nothing to joke about. But can I have a little fun with this story for a moment? Truly, you’ve got to love that line about Dartmouth graduates needing help to figure out how to apply for food stamps. Alas, if only ACORN were still around . . .

Question: Is this article more an indictment of our economy, or of our educational system? It’s hard to tell!

If four years of Ivy League education haven’t prepared these graduates for the task of applying for food stamps, I wonder what will? Perhaps Dartmouth College should incorporate welfare-procurement training into its core curriculum!

Obviously, we need to come up with a plan to assist the baffled Ivy League–educated supplicants of the federal government. I welcome any and all comments and ideas from our readers on this pressing issue.

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