Students not better off than four years ago

Problems of rising student debt and fewer middle-class jobs not only persist but are growing.

Daily Editorial Board

As the election draws near, Americans have been asked to evaluate their current economic situation and decide if they’re better off than four years ago, when the U.S. economy was in a tailspin as a new president and Congress took office. As we continue to see small but steady job growth, there’s a good chance many will answer “yes,” their situation is at least better than it was during the midst of the recession.

However, for far too many students and recent college graduates, it’s likely that their situation has only gotten worse. In 2011, 53.6 percent of people under the age of 25 with bachelor’s degrees were unemployed or underemployed, meaning their job did not require a four year degree. These figures represent an 11-year high and reflect the fact that middle-income jobs, normally held by recent college graduates, have been the slowest to come back after the recession. Additionally, as tuition continues to rise, student debt in the U.S. has crossed $1 trillion, creating an unsustainable bubble which continues to be ignored by our elected officials. The burden of high student debt and poor job prospects has forced many college graduates to put off milestones, like buying a house and starting a family, until their finances improve.

It’s clear that the economic situation for college students and graduates looking to make their way into the workforce is not better than it was four years ago, and there are few signs that point to things improving. The U.S. is still home to the best colleges and universities in the world, but an eroding middle class and inactive Congress are holding its students back.