Introduction: The U.S. is home to some of the greatest colleges and universities in the world. But with an overwhelming 1.3 million students graduating with an average student loan debt of $29,000 each and with youth unemployment elevated, the question of whether or not college tuition is worth the money arises (The Institute for College Access & Success, 2013). Higher education faces intimidating challenges: continually rising costs, access and completion problems, constant changing of technology, and responsibility pressures from state and federal officials. But no challenge is more intimidating than the fundamental question that many Americans face to ask themselves, "Is college worth the cost?" As a result of the economic turn down, many students who graduate are not finding well-paying jobs, either within their field of study or not.
Not only do the states’ low revenues cause affordability problems, but high unemployment rates contribute as well. As of December 2009, the nation’s unemployment rate was at ten percent (Boskin 22-27). The unemployment rate for people ages twenty to twenty-four is fifteen percent (Dickler). These numbers are still significantly high. This makes finding jobs extremely difficult for college students. Since the nation’s overall unemployment rate is high, students find themselves competing with everyone for jobs. This becomes very difficult for them. Without jobs,
1997 39% 24% Percentage of first generation [ * ] students aged 16-24 born within the U.S. who were not enrolled in school and did not complete high school.
(1) Most college students have a part-time job not a full-time job which means more full-time help will be needed.
Neill provides data on the increase of amount of students working full-time and part-time jobs during their education. She shows how this has been increasing since the 1970’s and more students are having to work while attending college to pay for expenses. This source also helps demonstrate how a shrinking middle class is affecting college students because low-income students need to work during college. It also provides more evidence on how increasing tuition is affecting students in general.
In today’s society, a college degree has become a requirement in order to obtain a well occupied profession. Prior to the recession, which the study defines as the period between December 2007 and June 2009, bachelor's graduates were already more likely to be employed than were associate degree holders, who were more likely to be employed than those without any postsecondary degree. After the recession, employment of college graduates dropped 7 percent, while associate degree holders experienced an 11 percent drop, and employment of high school graduates fell 16 percent. The percent of people excluded from the workforce, meaning they were seeking work but couldn’t find it, rose 31 percent for college graduates, 37 percent for high school graduates, and 50 percent for associate degree graduates, though associate degree holders were still excluded at a lower rate than high school graduates (Tilsley, 2013).
Over the past twenty-five years, college costs have accumulatively risen four-hundred percent. The percent of parents who contribute to their child’s student debt has dropped from thirty-seven percent to twenty-seven percent, compared to three years ago. Due to the lack of aid, most students have to try to balance a job and school at the same time resulting in eighty-five percent of college students working at least twenty hours a week. It has also been noted that students who work twenty hours or more a week while attending classes at the same time are less likely to graduate due to the high stress environment. Sixty-two percent of college students who drop out were responsible for their own college education. Even when students drop out, thirty percent are still faced with college debt, creating a loophole impossible to recover
An estimated 20 million Americans attend college each year, and 60% of those students borrow annually to pay for it (qtd. in asa.org, “Student Loan Debt Statistics”). Moreover, citizens continuing to pay off debt after schooling brings the overall number of student-loan-borrowers to about 40 million- with a collective 1
Here I am in my second year, not as far along as I had hoped. But I have discovered that many of my classmates also work full-time, and we see many advantages to being a working student. We are more mature and self-disciplined because we carry our work habits over to our studies. We concentrate harder than some of the younger, non-working students. Teachers seem to show us more respect. By taking longer to earn degrees, we have time to assimilate what we learn and develop our awareness from one semester to the next. While it’s true that we don’t have much time for socializing or extracurricular activities, we do learn to make friends quickly in classroom situations and make the most of our social opportunities between classes.
At a time when, employers say that almost every new job in the U.S. will require workers to have more than a high-school education, the chance that students at the bottom of the economic ladder can afford to finish college has taken a turn for the worse. The number of students from all income levels and racial and ethnic backgrounds pursuing post- secondary education continues to grow. But to stay in school, low-income students are taking loans, using high- interest credit cards to pay tuition, working more hours, and opting for two-year schools. Low-income students are choosing two-year colleges for financial reasons even though studies show more of them are academically qualified for four-year schools due to efforts by school districts to push them into tougher, college-prep course. This tuition increase makes part- time students “… face costs they cannot afford while confronting a federal system of financial aid that both is “confusing” and “spends too little on those who need help the most” (Zemsky 3). For full time students this raise also puts a damper in their college fund but it could no amount to the cost of a part- time student who cannot afford their education as a result of their uncontrollable financial situations.
B. Thesis Statement: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “the 2012 graduation rate for…full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year…institution…was 59 percent.” Also stated was that it took 6 years for those first-time college students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Every year the number of graduating college students is drastically decreasing. We believe that there
Another statistics presented by Collegeboard shows that "In 2010 11, about 57% of public four year college students graduated with debt. They had borrowed an average of $23,800 (in 2011 dollars)" (Student Loan Debt Statistics). $23,800 is not a small amount to much of the middle class today, and unless graduating with a bachelor's degree increases the chances for employment, it's simply not worth it. In fact, a 2012 study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce titled "Hard Times: Not All College Majors are Created Equal," shows that "Unemployment figures show the jobless rate for recent college graduates with bachelor's degrees has been running at an unacceptable 8.9 percent" (Loose). An average of $23,800 in loans to support a 4 year college attendance plus an unemployment rate that is above national average, " considering the national unemployment rate in March 2012 was 8.2 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor." (Loose) just points to the undeniable fact that joining the work force serves as a better alternative for students today. Students attending work force will have a solid advantage over college attendees by not only able to avoid the high cost for college tuition, but also developing practical skills that benefits their work experience.
college students aged 16 to 24 who also work full- or part-time has increased from 49
Working college students can also suffer outside of classes and the workplace. For example my schedule illustrates the conflicts of trying to take on too many duties. Since I work nights during the week, the weekends are a more convenient time that I can study. Because I have to use my weekends to do school work, I can’t do other things. My apartment is a mess since I have no time to clean it. Worse, my girlfriend is threatening to leave me because I have no social life. We never even go out like we once used to now when she comes over, I am too busy studying. However the rewards of earning a college degree in this economy can be the difference between having
College graduation and dropout rates have long been used as a central indicator of education system productivity and effectiveness and of social and economic well-being. Today, interest in the accuracy and usefulness of these statistics is particularly acute owing to a confluence of circumstances, including changing demographics, new legislative mandates, and heightened political pressures to reduce the incidence of dropping out. Students who are unable to pass the assessments may simply leave school before graduating. Not everyone drops out because they lack the determination to finish, instead they run into another obstacle while equipped with the motivation. Those of which are trying to regulate the balance of work and school, unexpected family problems, and financial problems.