For today’s grads, a job is no sure thing, but decades of debt may be. And don’t get me started on the education – Published on AlterNet/Education, by Matthew Saccaro, Feb 24, 2014.
Each autumn, millions of young Americans parade into colleges with cheap plastic furniture in tow, expecting their work over the next four years to result in a career worth going into debt for. Instead, they jeopardize their futures. There’s not a worse decision a young American can make than attending college sans parental money or massive scholarship.
Let’s start off with the basics. In 2012, 71 percent of all students who graduated accrued some amount of student loan debt, with the average amount of debt soaring to $29,400. More than half of student loans officially became delinquent or in deferral in 2013. New information indicates this trend will only worsen; recent college graduates face the worst unemployment rate in more than 20 years, as well as severe underemployment, with 44 percent of grads saying they could find work but not enough of it. Not even the vaunted STEM fields are immune from the perils of cheap labor, smartsizing, and the Great Recession.
Here’s where college apologists will say debt used to acquire a degree is “good debt” since it ultimately pays off in the end — both because the degree will land you a job and provide “intellectual enrichment” and “critical thinking” and other impossible to quantify, dubious buzzwords used in college marketing pamphlets across the country.
This baby boomer-esque sentiment is garbage … //
… True, like winter, reforms are coming. Higher education still hasn’t plummeted to its nadir. Universities are ripping out their own guts. They’re slashing programs in history, economics and physics in an ”Idiocracy”-like display of irony and embarrassment. Colleges are eschewing their very purpose — to educate people — so they can attempt to become finishing schools for yuppies or discount degree mills. At a glance, trimming the fat and emphasizing coursework that builds “marketable” skills sounds like the proper solution. The professoriat disagrees. One Boston College professor referred to this process as “creating Walmarts of higher education — convenient, cheap, and second-rate.” And the price-cutting at many colleges is naught but an older-than-dirt sales tactic used to manipulate degree-seekers into thinking they’re getting a good deal when they’re getting shafted. Degrees are becoming intellectual and professional fast food, only pumped with worthless “life skill” coursework and barely (or non) paying internships instead of carcinogenic preservatives. In 2014, a degree means you can do work totally unrelated to your “education,” like answering phones or operating a cash register.
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