Lately, the debate over whether the cost of a post-secondary education is really worth it for young people has come to the forefront in the news. With rates of unemployed college graduates continuing to rise, and tuitions increasing just as rapidly, many students and parents are questioning whether college is a worthwhile investment in a young adult’s future. A recent report from Anthony Carnevale and his Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, asserts there is a need for a college-educated workforce to help pull the United States out of a period of slow economic growth.
Carnevale strongly believes that despite the inability of college graduates to find employment in the current economy and the cost of education becoming a hardship for many working families, to not acknowledge the long-term benefits and opportunities afforded by a college education is short-sighted. In analyzing historical data from several decades back, Carnevale and his co-author Stephen Rose found that up until 1980 the number of college graduates remained in line with employer demand for a college-educated workforce. As the number of college graduates declined from 1990 to 2010, employer demand for a college-educated workforce continued to grow, creating a deficiency in skilled employees entering the workforce.
Today students and parents are thinking more critically about financing a college education. Many families rely on financial aid and scholarships to support their children’s educational goals, while adult students consider the employment opportunities available upon graduation and evaluate their ability to take on massive amounts of debt before heading back to the classroom. When facing a decision that could ultimately mean accumulating $50,000 to $100,000 in student loan debt and likely not result in immediate employment, it is easy for parents and students to fail to acknowledge the long-term economic impact currently distressing Carnevale.
Did you consider student loan debt and job placement after graduation before decided to attend college? Have you decided against attending college because of cost and/or the potential for difficulties finding employment? How do you feel about the decision you made?