The Unfortunate Truth of College Graduates


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It is true that college has opened up many opportunities for those seeking to further develop their educational prospects. The value that education holds for not only the individual, but also the community, is worth its weight in gold. That being said, it is important to address the issues that many college attendees experience during and after college. This entails a sense of disorientation in reaction to the pressure of choosing a major and the continually rising cost of education. This should prompt employers to consider these facts and make it so that college graduates get paid the amount they deserve. However, this is not the case.

The National Center for Education Statistics states that “…the employment rate was highest for young adults with a bachelor’s or higher degree (86 percent)”. These kinds of statistics prompt us to strive for a higher degree and gain it at any cost; however, many issues arise with these aspirations because as college becomes increasingly expensive, so does the difficulty for low-income individuals.

Many college attendees struggle to find jobs which are both fitting for their careers and also have a respective income. Money magazine took the findings of labor economist Stephen Rose, who uncovered discoveries in his new analysis regarding the overqualification that has burdened college graduates entering the workforce. Money writer Kaitlin Mulhere deduced from Rose’s findings that “…no matter how the economy is faring, the overqualification rate is disproportionately high for workers who are just out of college and in their early 20s”.  

This means that many employers have handed down less-than-exemplary jobs, making it so that college graduates must crawl their way to the top regardless of their degree. Is this the kind of treatment that is deserved by hardworking students, spending countless hours educating themselves through the means of their own will?

It should also be noted that the percentage of overqualification rates for Hispanics and African Americans increased by “…7 and 10 percentage points, respectively, than the rate for white college-educated workers”. This not only highlights the inconsideration of the educated workforce but also reveals the effects of racism that still segregate several demographics from gaining equal pay. Not only are college graduates being short-cut of their pay, but if you are part of a non-white racial group, then the likelihood that your efforts will be overlooked increase.

If a student is working to both pay for school and attend it, there should be jobs where they are paid more for their effort and time. It is unfair for college students to increasingly spend more money as the years continue, only for employers to short-pay their employees. If there is no guarantee for employment through the college educational system, why should any of us waste our time and money on what is close to being a scam.

This reality is not only reflected in Rose’s research but also in the evidence that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides. Looking at April of 2018 the percentage of unemployed college graduates stood at 2.1 percent, while highschool graduates experienced unemployment at a rate of 4.3 percent. This shows that the unemployment gap between college  graduates and high school graduates is a mere 2.2 percent. If thousands of dollars are being shoveled into our education, the unemployment gap between high school and college graduates should be more than 2 percent.

Now the question left is what this means for us as college students. The unemployment gap is small amongst educated individuals, which is good, but that is not the point. What should be looked at is whether college has become unuseful.

If the average student is spending thousands of dollars on their future and educational pursuits; should this not ensure that those who are educated receive adequate pay?

The education of our communities is vital for the survival, progression, and sustainability of our world. With so many dire issues arising in this day in age, it is going to take the efforts of all our educational skills to develop new ways in which we can solve problems. This kind of collaboration is not given enough credit and hopefully this can also be seen by employers.

Kendrick A. Rojas