Many young college graduates in the U.S. are either unemployed or underemployed, working at jobs that don’t call upon the skills or knowledge they acquired while getting a bachelor’s degree. And many are burdened with student loans they can’t repay.
President Obama has set a goal to raise our college graduation rates to become first in the world by 2020, but there are some hard economic realities. Technological change and outsourcing are shipping many jobs overseas to low-wage countries or eliminating them altogether.
Higher education once was seen as a way to polish a person’s social and cultural skills and capital, a necessity for the leisured class. But now it is pitched as a necessity to get a high-paying job and enter a professional or technical career.
What happens when those promises are unfulfilled? Will young people still be willing to pile on the student debt?