College Degrees…Worth The Money?

NWF State College Graduation

NWF State College Graduation (Photo credit: Sean M. Flynn)

(by Rob Writer)

We all heard it for decades. Go get a college degree if you want to make a better living. And, for a long time, that was the undisputed truth…

However, enter the “Great Recession.” All of a sudden, things have changed, at least for the meantime.

New information is out which suggests that college grads are perhaps “over qualified” for many opportunities which are available in the current job markets.

Meagan Pant of the “Denver Post” reports that a significant number of college graduates find themselves in jobs making lower wages and don’t even require a high school diploma!

What’s more, when graduates tack on the rising higher costs of a college education, it becomes even harder to justify going to college at all!

“The economy may be in recovery officially, but there are a lot of people who haven’t recovered yet” says Jonathan Robe. He is one of three researchers involved in a report “Why Are College Graduates Underemployed?” Robe further adds “The problem is sticking around.”

In her article, Pant states that some 48 percent of college alumni, not just recent college grads, were underemployed as of 2010. In a report from the Center for College Affordability and Productive, there were five million college graduates employed in jobs which required less than a high school education.

These facts seem to be even further validated by another post on “” Jon Marcus of the Hechinger Institute @CNNMoney tells us this story.

“Bereven Omer graduated on a Friday in February, (2013), with an associate degree from Nashville State Community College and started work the following Monday as a computer-networking engineer at a local television station, making about $50,000 a year.”

Statistics show that salary is about 15% higher than the average starting salary for college graduates from either two or four-year degree programs. Omer adds “I have a buddy who got a four-year bachelor’s degree who is making $10 dollars an hour. I’m making two and a half times more than he is.”

Marcus goes on to say that a Georgetown University study shows that some 30 percent of Americans with Associates degrees are now making more than those with Bachelor’s degrees. The post goes on to say that in Tennessee for example, the average wage for two-year graduates right out of school is $38,948. That’s between $1000-1300 dollars more than average salaries paid to four-year degree holders.

However, there is one other statistic of interest in all this. Georgetown University also suggests that about 63% of all jobs will require “postsecondary” education by 2018. Currently, the U.S. is on pace to fall short of meeting that need by about 3 million workers.

Be this as it may, the current underemployment trend is leaving college educated workers in jobs which pay so little that they cannot pay off their student loans, or even maintain the costs of health care. Surviving today’s employment shortfalls is hard enough for many, while at the same time, it is making future job requirements seem all the more worrisome…