Mindy Thomas


College Degrees – Are They Really Worth It Now?

College Degrees – Are They Really Worth It Now?

When I read the recent Time Magazine article that my 22 year son sent me last night, I was completely shocked. Frankly, he was too. After all, we’ve been conditioned to think that to get anywhere professionally, we need to at least obtain a college degree. With more than 85% of college students moving home after graduation and no real hope. . . Well, you gotta wonder.

What is even more extraordinary is that – going forward – more than 40% of all new jobs will require a degree. So, what’s going on? In fact, the under-25 group . . . according to the research states the unemployment rate is horribly high. A whopping 54% of all college graduates are unemployed.

What’s worse than that is that the biggest debt in this country is the student loan debt. More students are defaulting on their student loans than anything else. It is being called a horrific societal problem by some university professors. Fabio Rojas, a professor of sociology at Indiana University who studies the politics of higher education said “Now, it’s a lifetime lock-in, an albatross you can’t escape.”

There are 21 statistics about college tuition, student loan debt and the quality of college education in the United States….so if you are wondering what the stats really look like, I thought you should take a peak at these numbers.

#1 Since 1978, the cost of college tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent.

#2 In 2010, the average college graduate had accumulated approximately $25,000 in student loan debt by graduation day.

#3 Approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.

#4 Americans have accumulated well over $900 billion in student loan debt. That figure is higher than the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.

#5 The typical U.S. college student spends less than 30 hours a week on academics.

#6 According to very extensive research detailed in a new book entitled “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses”, 45 percent of U.S. college students exhibit “no significant gains in learning” after two years in college.

#7 Today, college students spend approximately 50% less time studying than U.S. college students did just a few decades ago.

#8 35% of U.S. college students spend 5 hours or less studying per week.

#9 50% of U.S. college students have never taken a class where they had to write more than 20 pages.

#10 32% of U.S. college students have never taken a class where they had to read more than 40 pages in a week.

#11 U.S. college students spend 24% of their time sleeping, 51% of their time socializing and 7% of their time studying.

#12 Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor’s degree within four years.

#13 Nearly half of all the graduate science students enrolled at colleges and universities in the United States are foreigners.

#14 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for college graduates younger than 25 years old was 9.3 percent in 2010.

#15 One-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.

#16 In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.

#17 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

#18 In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees.

#19 In the United States today, 24.5 percent of all retail salespersons have a college degree.

#20 Once they get out into the “real world”, 70% of college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in school.

#21 Approximately 14 percent of all students that graduate with student loan debt end up defaulting within 3 years of making their first student loan payment.

If, in fact, 40% of all new jobs will require a bachelor’s degree in the upcoming years, then we are forced to factor in this reality and costs. However, instead of pricey private schools, maybe young people should start at the community college level and work their way into an internship where they can gain tuition assistance from their employer. Back in the day, that’s exactly what I did.:-)

Your Career is Your Business. Isn’t it Time For You to Manage it Like a CEO?

Please call Professional Career Counselor Mindy Thomas, MS, CPRW, CLC, CJC, CJDC directly at 610.937.5632 or send us a message. Our offices are located in suburban Philadelphia at 221 North Olive Street in Media, PA, close to Wilmington DE, NYC and Washington DC.