College students are paying more to get degrees that do less in the marketplace

by Brendan Cohen - University student

A number of recent stories suggest that having a college degree makes the difference between being employed and being unemployed.
But in every one of those stories there is a caveat âÄî recent college graduates are not finding jobs relevant to their degrees or skills.
Our society puts a very high value on education. Most of us at the University of Minnesota were encouraged to do well in high school, go to college and get a degree. In 1970, our parents could avoid the military draft by going to college, and at that time only 10.7 percent of the population had a college degree. Thus, a college degree truly set them apart from the rest of the population.
Today, 27 percent of the U.S. population has a college degree or better. Thus, employers are no longer looking for any degree: They are looking for the right degree.
In addition to the lack of opportunity of recent college graduates, there are other stark truths that put into question the value of a college degree: 1. The increasing debt load required to get a degree; and 2. Only 58 percent of students entering the University leave with a degree within five years.
In fact, 20 percent of the U.S. population has attended college, accrued debts and received no degree.
While Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg can be found in this data set, you are more likely to find people who dropped out without having developed a revolutionary and lucrative product to fall back on, in this case at least.
It is time for academia to address the collapse in the value of their product, for students to shun the zero-value degrees and for policymakers to hedge their investments in education. Find out more at 3:30 p.m., in Carlson School of Management, Room1-143 when Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow hosts author Aaron Clarey for a discussion on âÄúWorthless Degrees.âÄù