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Is College Even Necessary? Is College Even Necessary?

Is College Even Necessary?

by Amanda M. Fairbanks

October 28, 2010


There's some pretty compelling evidence out there that the answer may well be no. Or, at least, not for everyone.

It's a topic we recently explored—namely, the chronic underemployment of recent college graduates and what it does to a person's sense of self and understanding of the world around them.

Turns out that it's hardly a problem relegated to recent graduates. Richard Vedder at The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that 17 million college graduates work in a job (see above) that requires less than the skill set associated with a bachelor's degree. 

Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants. There are 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees.

Meanwhile, college graduates are taking on debt levels that are at an all-time high (carrying an average of $24,000) coupled with an unemployment rate for recent graduates of 8.7 percent.

Are we pushing too many people toward college—especially when there aren't enough jobs to follow?

Photo (cc) via Flickr user bredgur.

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