On October 14, 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared “war on drugs”. On February 24, 2009, President Barak Obama declared “war on schooling” claiming by 2020, there will be a 60 percent college attainment for workers, aged 25 to 34. Throughout the entire country of America, a notion is voiced that higher education will lead to higher levels of income mobility and every student in America should aspire to attend college and graduate with a degree in order to do better than the generation before, but as we advance, we must ask ourselves, are we truly making the best decision in terms of our employment and lives?
According to Accenture‘s 2013 College graduate employment survey, 41 percent of graduates say they are underemployed and working jobs that do not require degrees. Despite their education, 63 percent of graduates say they will need more training in order to get their desired job, and 77 percent expect their first employer to provide them with formal training. But fewer than 48 percent of graduates say they received training after their first job. What the ambitious counselors and our president forget to mention is that the more people who have a bachelor’s degree, the lower the value it becomes with more and more people attaining it.
A study report conducted by the Center for College Affordability shows that in 1970, only ten percent of the population received college degrees, while in 2013, the numbers rose to over 30 percent of the total population. And not all degrees and schools are created the same. Depending on what type of tier school and career you choose to go into correlates directly into how much a graduate is expected to make. So yes, the type of major and school you go to does matter.
The college degree is soon becoming the new norm, but only 45 percent of graduates fail to graduate within six years while only one third of graduates make at least 20 percent under the income average. The graduate average as of today remains $45,327, 20 percent under turns to be $36,261 dollars annually, eliminating the assertion that college graduates make more on average than non- graduates. Though the claim is true that the workers with the largest unemployment rate goes to workers with a high school education or lower, it is largely due to employers seeing college as a screening device.
A degree no longer represents knowledge and expertise retained by a student. Instead it represents drive, creativity, or talent desired as graduates are expected to hold in order to compose in the work force. This allows prestigious schools like Cornell to raise their prices on tuition despite their graduate not being in his or her perspective field, and lacking the skills to compete in their field, while remaining in a underemployed position. Top Tier 1 schools will always remain prestigious also due to the fact that most students that are accepted into schools like Harvard or Yale, are the upper class individuals who can afford it and remain to engage in social activities such as partying and networking.
And according to a report by the Chicago Tribune, more and more citizens are carrying school debt into their golden years, from 2.8 billion in 2005 to a whopping 18.2 billion in 2013. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has reported that 80 percent 0f school debt of senior citizens comes from loans they took out for their own education while the remaining 20 percent was due to loans taken out on other dependents or for children they sent to college. Though only a small portion of senior citizens still carry over student debt, one can only imagine the aftereffects of Obama’s 60 percent college attainment.