- July 2, 2020
College Problem Report
Fora long time, low and middle-income US citizens always considered acollege education as the right step towards a successful life.Parents used to urge their children to perform well in school so thatthey will be able to join a good college. Many families had, and somestill do, the practice of saving for the college education of theirchildren. These savings began to be collected from the infancy stagesof their children. Every parent expected their child to go to collegeand get a well-paying job that will set them for life. As time wenton, unemployment rates started to rise since the job market wassaturated. Having a degree from college no longer became a guaranteefor a good profession. To add to the issue, the costs of universityeducation escalated rapidly. Students that did not have sufficientfunds to pay for their degree had to apply for student’s loans.This debt ends up being a burden since, after graduation, anindividual may find themselves earning far way too little after theloan is deducted from their pay. People begin to question on thereason why one should go through an expensive four-year experienceonly to finish, and the returns are not lucrative (Oreopoulos et al.,42).This essay addresses an emerging college problem in the US thatrelates to the degrading value for the university degree mainly dueto rising cost of university education among other reasons and offersviable solutions that can mitigate the situation.
Accordingto Abel et al., the degree that one receives from the university nolonger seems like a viable investment. The cost of college schoolinghas risen by over 40% in the last three decades (Abelet al., 2014).More students are finding it difficult to raise the amount that cangrant them a complete education. Many have resorted to obtainingstudent loans as a way of subsidizing the expense. Thus, thesestudents graduate from college with a degree and a large amount ofdebt even before they have started to earn their first income. Tomake matters worse, the job market appears to be drying out. A fewdecades ago, the number of people that had university education wasfewer, and their demand was very high. A graduate was assured of asolid employment as soon as they had graduated. Currently, suchopportunities are hard to occur. A student will clear school andimmediately start applying for different jobs, sadly very few manageto secure jobs within the first few months. There are those that goto even a year without a single employment opportunity (Oreopoulos etal., 45). Keep in mind that all this time, they still had upkeepexpenses and the loan debt hanging over their head. One can wonderwhat is the point of paying so much money and the chances of youbenefiting from the degree are low? Some people have assumed that aperson should start working immediately after high school and skipcollege instead. They have the notion that the four years “wasted”in school can be covered up by the income made during the period.However, statistics have shown that people with university educationearn up to 75% more annual income than those that only have a highschool diploma (Oreopoulos et al., 47). Thus, it makes more sense tostill study for the degree even if the chances of immediateemployment are low.
Thisproblem has a different aspect regarding the quality of the degree. Astudent may study for a specific profession but end up working in avery different sector. This practice is common nowadays, especiallysince there are no jobs. An individual frustrated with stayingunemployed yet they received a college degree will quickly snatch theavailable opportunity even if they did not study for the specific job(Carnevaleet al., 2011).Thus, students that studied science-related courses may findthemselves working in the financial sector. The situation defeats thepurpose of the education because the knowledge the student gained inthose four years is not being applied in the real world.
Othergroups have raised the concern that the standard of a collegeeducation has reduced over the years. They feel that the manner ofteaching evolved from the traditional methods where skills wereemphasized on. The students may go through their college life withminimal skills and a lot of theoretical information. Others tend tocopy the works and assignments of others making their learningexperience to be barely adequate. Such individuals usually end up inemployment without the ability to perform their job as required. Theincompetency of some college graduates is a major headache foremployers that have to waste more resources in conducting trainingfor these people.
Causesof the Problem
Theissue about the high unemployment rates among college graduatesstarted after more and more people went through the same education.The number of available jobs did not increase the proportion to thenumber of people that were graduating. Therefore, the supply ofpotential employees started to outweigh the demand for theirqualifications (Oreopoulos et al., 55). The waiting period before onecan gain work after they finish college continues to extend. Anotherreason why the jobs reduced in the market was the 2008 financialcrisis. Many organizations had to let go thousands of employeesbecause they were no longer able to pay their wages. Many people wereleft jobless for several months and even years. As the financialmarket started to improve, most of these organizations tended torehire the workers that had lost their jobs. The preference for theseworkers over the fresh graduates was due to job experience which themajority of the college graduates do not have. Thus, as everyacademic year, a new batch of graduates was released continued to addup to the existing number of the unemployed graduates (Oreopoulos etal., 48).
Theissue of the rising cost of education also started during the samefinancial recession. The government of the time had to increase therevenue charged on various sectors and education was one of thosesectors. The students were subjected to higher amounts without theirconsultation. It led to the rising amount of student debt. Carnevaleand Rose estimate that the amount adds up to 1 trillion US dollars(Carnevaleet al., 2011).The figure is very high and only serves to show how costly universityeducation has become.
Theissue on the quality of education that a student receives in collegestarted due to the development of information technology. In thepast, students had to do physical research in libraries and archiveswhen completing assignments and other tasks. Nowadays, the internetis a shortcut that many rely upon. Although the Internet can provideuseful information, there are those individuals who misuse it(Carnevaleet al., 2011).They copy works written by other authors and use them as their own.The habit has led to these individuals to finish schools withoutlearning anything of value.
Thebest solution to handle the issue of job availability for collegegraduates is the creation of more job opportunities. The statement isobvious though vague. The US administration needs to liaise withprivate companies to enact more projects and ventures that willcreate more employment opportunities for people with collegeeducation. Increasing the number of jobs will reduce the pressurethat is currently felt by employers.
Theeducation system of universities should also be changed. Currently,students are educated about a specific course with limited skills.Once they finish school, their knowledge can only be applied to anarrow field of expertise. When they lack employment in theirrelevant sector, they end up destitute since they have no otherqualification that would secure them a good job. If the curriculum isstructured in a more diverse format, students can earn a four-yeardegree with varied skills. These individuals will be able to graduatewith a way of adapting to the different opportunities that may cometheir way (Abelet al., 2014).
Thestudent loan issue is a problem that the federal government needs toaddress. The administration should find a way of cutting down thecost of education. Funds can be derived from other sectors of thegovernment to reduce the amount that students are required to pay.Also, there should be more scholarship opportunities and financialaid awarded to the students that hail from less privilegedenvironments (Abelet al., 2014).
Thevalue of a college degree in the US has been seen as a major concern,especially due to the high cost of education and the lack ofemployment for the newly graduated students. These problems arose dueto saturation of the job market and also the financial recession thatthe country went through. The solutions offered that includegovernmental intervention as well as altering the curriculum toimpact diverse skills on students will reduce the problem that manystudents in colleges go through.
Abel,Jaison R., and Richard Deitz. "Do the benefits of college stilloutweigh the costs?." CurrentIssues in Economics and Finance 20.3(2014).
Carnevale,Anthony P., Stephen J. Rose, and Ban Cheah. "The collegePayoff:Education, Occupations, lifetime earnings." (2011).
Oreopoulos,Philip, and Uros Petronijevic. "Making college worth it: Areview of the returns to higher education." TheFuture of Children 23.1(2013): 41-65.