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Going To College May Cost You, But So Will Skipping It
NPR ^ | 02/12/2014 | Jennifer Ludden

Posted on 02/12/2014 9:56:06 AM PST by SeekAndFind

In America, total student loan debt tops $1 trillion and a four-year college degree can cost as much as a house — leaving many families wondering if college is really worth the cost.

Yes, a new study of young people finds. The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, looks at income and unemployment among young adults. Paul Taylor, executive vice president of special projects at Pew, says it's pretty much case closed when it comes to the benefits of going to college.

"In a modern, knowledge-based economy, the only thing more expensive than going to college is not going to college," he says.

College-educated young adults make more

Earnings Disparities By Generation


"Full time" is defined as working at least 35 hours per week. Median annual earnings are based on earnings and work status during the year prior to interview (reflected in parentheses) and are limited to people who worked full time during the previous calendar year and reported positive earnings.

Source: Pew Research Center

Credit: Alyson Hurt

Here are the numbers: Those with a college degree now make $17,500 more per year than those without — a wage gap that's doubled in recent decades. Those without a degree are four times more likely to be unemployed.

One can imagine a college-educated barista, struggling with loan payments, having second thoughts about her college debt. But Pew surveyed young people, and "you ask them was it worth it, and boy, even those with debt — 8 out of 10 — say absolutely," Taylor says. "Either it's already worth it or it will be worth it."

Dakota Goforth, 19, is a freshman at the University of the District of Columbia. At first, he did not plan on college. After all, neither of his parents went and they make a fine living — his dad in special education, his mom as an accountant. But Goforth says the staff at his high school worked hard to drive home the income disparity that the Pew report chronicles.

"They would show you statistics of people who didn't go to college and people who did. And once I saw the numbers I'm like, yeah I'm going," Goforth says. "In this generation you have to go to college. Like, it isn't even optional."

But Pew also finds that it's not just going to college that matters — it's what you study while you're there. UDC student Michael Benton, 29, says he already has a master's degree. But like nearly one-third of those whom Pew surveyed, he says he regrets his major.

His study of political science, international relations and international development, he says, has offered "very little" in the way of job opportunities. So Benton is now working on a second bachelor's degree, taking out loans and dipping into savings to major in computer science.

"I want to be in a field where it's growing and I know what the future looks like, and I think the future's bright," he says with a laugh.

But how much more continues to increase

The difference in median annual earnings of college and high school graduates when members of each generation were between 25 and 32, in 2012 dollars.

Earnings Gap Has Grown By Generation

Source: Pew Research Center

Credit: Alyson Hurt

Compared with those without a degree, grads today are much better off. But how about compared with their parents? About one-third of millennials have college degrees — the most-educated generation ever. But as a group, they're not doing better, incomewise, than their parents' generation.

"There's no great sense of forward progress among this group, vis-a-vis college-educated young adults 10, 15, 20, 30 years ago," Pew's Taylor says. Pew finds the wage gap is widening at the lower end of education. Prospects for those with just a high school diploma have been collapsing since the late 1970s.

"The blue collar jobs of yesteryear, which built the American middle class — those jobs have simply disappeared," says Arne Kalleberg, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina and author of Good Jobs, Bad Jobs.

"The kinds of jobs that are being created are relatively low-wage, low-skill jobs, such as fast food and big-box stores," he says. "And so for most of Americans, we've seen a stagnation in wages and a decline in purchasing powers."

So there's more incentive now than ever to go to college. Still, Kalleberg cautions that college alone does not guarantee a well-paying job. What you major in does matter, he says. And, of course, you have to be able to pay for it.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Education; Society
KEYWORDS: college; tuition

1 posted on 02/12/2014 9:56:06 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Young people express themselves oddly..

College is, like, not optional, he says.

Totally, dude..........................

2 posted on 02/12/2014 10:00:50 AM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: SeekAndFind

If your major is Wymyns Stydies or Gender Studies, skipping college won’t hurt you.

3 posted on 02/12/2014 10:04:46 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: SeekAndFind

Thing is, that college is only as good as the degree you’re getting. The young barely know what to do with themselves and barely know what they want out of life, so realistically what on earth are they doing spending thousands on college when they aren’t even sure what they want out of life?

Not going can cost you, but only if you don’t have the right kind of motivation to explore your options and really think through where you want to go in life. If a student spends their university years boozing and not studying, it’s a waste of time. If they spend their uni years in the library then they’ll profit from their success. As for the rest, if they don’t have good connections, or bother to cultivate them online and take some kind of initiative, again, college and university is just a complete waste of their time.

If you learn a trade, a degree would be just a distraction from the real world of making real money and living a real life.

4 posted on 02/12/2014 10:05:11 AM PST by CorporateStepsister (I am NOT going to force a man to make my dreams come true)
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To: SeekAndFind; Dilbert San Diego; Opinionated Blowhard

I think a lack of work history does more damage; so many young adults are students, full time, not workers. They can get grades, but the real question is whether or not they can get the job done.

5 posted on 02/12/2014 10:07:34 AM PST by CorporateStepsister (I am NOT going to force a man to make my dreams come true)
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To: SeekAndFind

I think it’s more about driving your path than college. I only bothered with the mythic “some college” but make more than the national average for my age group with a 4 year degree, because I navigated my waters. You can always make good money if you work the job and get promotions. When I was at McDonalds (before my “some college”) our regional manager was living in a neighborhood filled with doctors and lawyers, because regional manager pays that much and he’d worked the McD system to get there from lowly crew grunt. There’s always a promotion path available to a higher standard of living, the question is are you on that path or just hanging around.

6 posted on 02/12/2014 10:10:04 AM PST by discostu (I don't meme well.)
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To: SeekAndFind

We have many younger relatives who optioned out of the college degree route and developed skills needed yesterday and today. They are doing very well.

We have a few younger relatives with very specific and valuable degrees, some with advanced degrees in their special area. These are not PC bs degrees, aka Instant Unemployment Degrees. Also, each of these younger relatives had good jobs from teenage years through out college.

College is not for everyone and good trade school/training isn’t for everyone.

A good guarantee doesn’t exist for each track. One has to find out what they are good at and how to use that skill/knowledge to get a job and how to keep improving their job skills and job worth throughout their life.

A bad guarantee exists for those who don’t develop good work habits including be able to talk and communicate with adults.

Also, anyone getting a PC, Instant Unemployment Degree will be deeply in debt with student loans and have nothing to bargain with to get a job.

7 posted on 02/12/2014 10:13:41 AM PST by Grampa Dave ( Obozo Care is a Trinity of Lies! Obozo Care is probably a serious Black Swan event.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’d like to see some stats on reading/writing. I’m thinking employers favor college grads if for nothing more than hoping they will find someone that might be able to read.

8 posted on 02/12/2014 10:22:13 AM PST by WinMod70
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To: Opinionated Blowhard
IIRC, it is Bitter Wymyns Studies.
9 posted on 02/12/2014 10:24:53 AM PST by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: WinMod70

In the Business world College is known as the new “High School” meaning that what you used to get educationally at that level now takes college to attain. I is by no means a guarantee of a job, meaningless and non focused degree tracks yield debt and no employment in the chosen dicipline.

Trade schools and associated “blue collar” skill sets are in high and continuous demand but the perception of many is they are not as good as a degree. Look up the term “guild” and it’s provenance, the whole model is built on competency in a given discipline or trade. Colleges are good in some cases providing “theoretical” knowledge but few if any courses are taught by individuals who have ever used their knowledge in an actual work environment. Many if not most in the Edutocracy feel that there is no real difference between the two (theoretical versus practical application) and they could really care less as long as they get paid.

Companies are looking for people now with experience using knowledge (called wisdom) and are not anxious to hire newbies looking to have them be a proving ground only to have the newly trained employee (think investment) fly off to another company. This is also a false model as company culture, systems and methods vary widely and it can be very hard to take someone who is deeply acculturated and have them adapt to a new one especially if they do not have all the right elements in place to help in the process and reinforce their way of doing things.

Just my 2c as I have researched this subject extensively and I am no fan at all of the current college/university model as anything more than a way for them to soak up Student Loan dollars and turn out graduates who still have no clue what they can do with their degree and what they purportedly “learned”

10 posted on 02/12/2014 10:34:10 AM PST by 100American (Knowledge is knowing how, Wisdom is knowing when)
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To: SeekAndFind

From NPR: Hillary’s state-owned publication.

Here’s some better advice for young folks. Find whatever cheap work you can get and learn all that you can about frugality and self-sufficiency.

11 posted on 02/12/2014 10:49:05 AM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Only because the bulk of employers in this country have been totally brainwashed to believe a degree holds the same value today as it did after WW II.

12 posted on 02/12/2014 11:15:27 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: SeekAndFind
Leftist media supporting leftist higher ed.

I know people in leftist higher ed and they are worried about their jobs. All the universities and colleges that are third tier and below are shaking in their boots as programs are cut. Many are under unions, but if the program is cut there isn't much the unions can do.

If your kids come home telling you that the English or Art history department think they would be perfect to change their majors, that is a desperate department trying to increase their numbers and justify their existence.

13 posted on 02/12/2014 1:34:28 PM PST by Chickensoup (leftist totalitarian fascism is on the move.)
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To: SeekAndFind

In the USA now emerging, one needs to possess some type of Third World skill. This is far more important for younger people than acquiring a non-STEM college degree, which can come later - if at all.

14 posted on 02/12/2014 1:37:46 PM PST by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: Chickensoup

I’m sure the regime will develop a program to save “Big Ed”.
When the millenials start to get nervous about granny’s early demise at the hands of the Death Panels, the regime will start offering Groupons for student loan remissions.

15 posted on 02/12/2014 1:39:12 PM PST by nascarnation (I'm hiring Jack Palladino to investigate Baraq's golf scores.)
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To: familyop

They start out owing $100,000
I think getting a job and working your way up is better as that extra money you made from a college education is used to pay the loan.

16 posted on 02/12/2014 2:17:32 PM PST by minnesota_bound
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To: Mr. Jeeves

RE: one needs to possess some type of Third World skill.

What on earth is a Third world skill?

17 posted on 02/12/2014 2:22:26 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind


18 posted on 02/12/2014 2:23:20 PM PST by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto!)
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To: combat_boots

Transgender Basketweaving Arts Appreciation and a study of White Privilege in the Basketweaving Industry

19 posted on 02/12/2014 2:24:47 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: GeronL

Well now.

Do they give out PhDs in that?

20 posted on 02/12/2014 2:38:00 PM PST by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto!)
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To: SeekAndFind
What on earth is a Third world skill?

Tailoring, electrical repair, plumbing, cooking, auto mechanics...something that makes money even in the Third World economy we are becoming.

21 posted on 02/12/2014 3:59:48 PM PST by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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