By Reiland Reantaso
Millennials have been told their entire lives that the university system is the gateway to the American middle class. Acknowledging the raising cost of tuition and that a degree does not always guarantee a job opportunity in today’s market, college may no longer be a viable solution for today’s generation.
There are definite benefits to going to college some would argue. U.S. News concluded that those who earn bachelor degrees earn on average $17,500 dollars more per year than those with only a high school diploma.
Some jobs also require a bachelors degree as the bare minimum to enter the field: nursing, engineering, public school teachers, most STEM fields and some management positions, etc.
However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of a statistic taken in May 2013) only about one-third of all available jobs require a bachelor degree or higher.
That is a staggeringly low number compared to the 65.9 percent of high school graduates in 2013 who continued on to college. The number has steadily increased to 69.7 percent as of October 2016 and is projected to continue to grow.
As the gap between the jobs that require bachelors degrees and people going to college continue to increase, many young people will find themselves settling for jobs that they are overqualified for. Now imagine going to school for four (or more, depending on the student) years, and then not even getting the job you worked so hard to get. Most of those graduates will end up in jobs that aren’t even in their field of study.
Only about 27 percent of college graduates hold jobs related to their major, the Washington Post concluded.
This is not to mention the ever increasing cost of tuition. In 2016 the average graduate leaves college $32,172 in debt. That number is even higher for Ivy league graduates with an average of $47,053.
So what can we do?
It might not be a good idea to stop telling young high school kids to go straight to college without knowing what they want to do.
These kids are 15 or 16 years old and sometimes younger, yet they get pressured in to making decisions that will cost them tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
They can’t even buy a lotto ticket or serve the country but they are making decisions that will change the entire course of their life.
That is not to say that they shouldn’t continue their education. Perhaps we should instead be funneling these kids into the community college system.
Not only does it give the kids an additional two years to think about their career path but also Author Erin Riskey of study.com concluded that the average cost of attending an in-district community college is only $3,440 annually, whereas, the average for a 4-year is $9,410 annually and a whopping $23,890 for out-of-state tuition.
That doesn’t even take in to account the cost of housing which averages an additional $10,000 annually at a 4-year.
While higher education is generally perceived as good thing, and rightly so, it may be crippling future generations.
At what cost are we willing to sacrifice our futures for the pursuit of education?