The dream of being a college grad has never been more distant.
And with a growing number of graduates leaving the profession to pursue their dreams in other fields, a growing contingent of college graduates is left with fewer options and more obstacles.
In this week’s WSJ article, the editorial board explores why it is that a college degree has never really been more attainable for some students than it is for others.
“If you have a dream and you have aspirations for a college education, you can achieve it,” said Susan Stolz, president of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
“But there are other hurdles.
Most importantly, there are students who have not yet graduated from college who will have to do extra work and pay for additional debt.”
The board points to the cost of attending college as a major barrier to getting a college diploma.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that about one in five Americans ages 18 to 29 said they would not attend college in order to make ends meet.
That is up from about 12 percent in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.
And the cost for college has grown at a much slower pace than the overall cost of living.
And while there is evidence that college graduates are earning better pay and are better off than their less-educated peers, many are still saddled with debt.
The problem isn’t just one of financial need, the board said.
Even when there is a gap in earnings between graduates and those who aren’t, the average student who graduates from a four-year college today still owes $22,000 on her loan, while a graduate with a four year degree owes $30,000.
Another big problem is that students who graduate from four- and five-year colleges are more likely to be employed than their counterparts who graduate after two years.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a college graduate made about $22.38 an hour in 2013, compared to $18.76 for a bachelor’s degree, according to the Center for American Progress.
But graduates who drop out of college also owe an average of $18,800 on their loans.
If you’re an ambitious college grad, there’s always the possibility that your dreams of becoming a professor or doctor might never come true.
But it may not be as much of a barrier as you think.
“When you graduate from college, you’re still a part of the population,” Stolzer said.
“And you’re part of a workforce that has more skills and experience than the general population.
So if you’re working hard and doing well, there is still that opportunity to be successful in the workforce.”
What to know about the American workforce The number of Americans who are employed is set to rise.
The unemployment rate for recent graduates, however, is still significantly higher than for the overall labor force.
What you need to know this week: