Monday, July 26, 2010

Was/Is It All Worth It?

I ask myself if it was all of the time and each day I come closer to saying, "no it wasn't".  I'm not going to go all Kanye and tell anyone not to go to school, but if I knew then what I know now I might not have bothered going to college.  I just thought I would pass along this article I found because it hit a tad too close to home. At least I'm not alone.

Many Young Adults in Poverty Have a College Degree, Report Says

By Sara Lipka

Increasing proportions of low-income young adults are pursuing higher education, but some remain poor even with a postsecondary degree, according to a new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

In 2008, among Americans ages 18 to 26 whose total household income was near or below the federal poverty level, 47 percent were or had been enrolled in college, compared with 42 percent in 2000. Eleven percent of them had earned a degree, a proportion roughly equivalent to that eight years ago, according to the report, which is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

The institute is a nonprofit group in Washington that conducts public-policy research to encourage access and success in higher education.

In introducing its report, the group called into question President Obama's declaration in his State of the Union address in January that "the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education." Poor students go to college academically unprepared, the report says, and, amid competing family and work obligations, they accumulate debt "that could have been avoided by pursuing a different type of degree or a credential."

None of the 11 percent of low-income graduates should remain in poverty, said Gregory S. Kienzl, director of research and evaluation at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. "If you have a degree, you should no longer be poor," he said.

Across all racial and ethnic groups, greater proportions of low-income young adults were or had been enrolled in college in 2008, compared with 2000. Hispanic students showed the largest percentage-point increase, to 37 percent from 29 percent. Low-income Asian and Pacific Islander and white students enrolled at the highest rates in 2008, 62 percent and 51 percent, respectively; the greatest proportions of low-income degree holders were also from those groups.

The report, "A Portrait of Low-Income Young Adults in Education," is the first in a series financed in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The next report will focus on attendance and enrollment patterns among low-income students, Mr. Kienzl said, including that black and Hispanic women more often attend for-profit institutions than public four-year colleges.

Article courtesy of

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1 comment:

rb said...

It's *really* frustrating to be an unemployed college graduate or to work in a job/field that didn't really require a degree but, all in all, it's still worth it. All things being equal, a degreed employee has more opportunities for promotion within a company than one without (this is especially true in civil service, where I'm currently employed).

What I do wish I had known was that it's not just about having any degree. Some programs - engineering, many sciences, nursing and, to a lesser extent, business - are instant tickets to a certain level income. Other programs (humanities, social sciences) are worthwhile, but will require more planning, interning, networking, and probably require graduate or professional school to fit a niche market or land in academia. For those entering the job market directly with a humanities or social science degree, the paper itself is less important than the network you built (or inherited) and work/leadership experience you leveraged your student status to gain - I've got a buddy with a French degree making a killing in sales at Google with little related experience, but her resume is ridiculous.

College is still worthwhile for most, but the way we think about college has to change. Unfortunately, we are the generation right at the cusp of this change. We'll see how much we can collectively adapt.