Tuesday, March 5, 2013

College and employment - college is the new high school

It seems clear that college graduates, given a few months space after graduation, have much lower unemployment rates than high school graduates. [Yes, Even Young College Graduates Have Low Unemployment].

But their job acquisition is not necessarily reflective of their college education. That is, they are getting the jobs that would have ordinarily been occupied by high school graduates. [College Degree Required by Increasing Number of Companies].

Because the job market favors the employers, college education becomes an unrelated job requisite filtering out those, albeit with less education, that are more of a match to the actual job requirements.

"This up-credentialing is pushing the less educated even further down the food chain, and it helps explain why the unemployment rate for workers with no more than a high school diploma is more than twice that for workers with a bachelor’s degree: 8.1 percent versus 3.7 percent." [College Degree Required by Increasing Number of Companies].

And that is the reason to go to college? To obtain a job that pays a little more than the recently suggested federal minimum wage of $9? For many, there is no ROI on the dollars and time spent.

College is a worth while experience even if irrelevant to a career. But from a financial viewpoint it isn't worth it unless the obtained employment pays off that dollar investment over a reasonable time.

Graduating from a four year college with a job that pays something around $10 per hour cannot be defined as a reasonable return on the dollars invested.


  1. Pamela FitzsimmonsMarch 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    I'm about to post something on Portland Public Schools' efforts to cap enrollment at Benson Polytechnic High. I found an interesting study called “Why Are Recent College Graduates Underemployed.”

    It's by economist Richard Vedder of Ohio State University who says, "We jokingly predict that colleges will offer a master’s degree in Janitorial Studies within a decade or two, and anyone seeking employment as a janitor will discover no one will hire unless proof of possession of such a degree is presented."

    You're right, Larry, that a job isn't the only reason to go to college. That's not why I went. College has become so unjustifiably expensive, it's questionable whether it's worth taking on debt just for intellectual growth. I doubt if I could afford college today.

  2. I want to apologize for the late posting of your comments. I get so many Internet bot comments that I often fail to peruse my comments for those that are genuine.

    It is a Google hosted blog so I actually have little control over the comment publishing.

    But comments like yours are welcomed and appreciated. Hopefully, I will pay better attention to awaiting comments.


  3. I read your post on Benson Tech - excellent as always.

    Since your post I saw this article: 100 Top Entrepreneurs Who Succeeded without a College Degree [http://www.youngentrepreneur.com/blog/100-top-entrepreneurs-who-succeeded-without-a-college-degree/].

    and this one too: Does College Matter for Entrepreneurs? [http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/220306].

    The expense of attending college, even community colleges, is prohibitive for many, if not most.

    Shortly after I moved to Portland I looked into the cost of auditing some classes at PSU. The tuition for me was nothing, but the cost of the books and materials stopped me in my tracks. And some of the materials were just copied material that far exceeded the cost of copying.

    How does a family or person take on the debt of a 2 or 4 year post high school college education? Seems like the money would be better spent at a technical school.

    A case in point is a past client of mine whose family had the bucks to send him to college, but he chose a technical school (DeVry I think) and soon thereafter started a very successful technical book publishing business subsequently bought out by a major book publisher.

    Different paths to success -no?