Allison Cheston, Career Connector

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Gen Y’s College Debt

 
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There’s an article on the front page of today’s New York Times entitled Burden of Loans on College Graduates Grows.

This is a good article highlighting a tough problem that’s getting worse. What it doesn’t discuss, however, is the fact that long-term job satisfaction among college graduates is much higher than among those without a college degree. Reasons for this include the fact that those without college degrees are much more likely to work in dead-end jobs to make ends meet. And those without degrees tend to move from job to job more frequently.

According to the book Not Quite Adults “Education or training is a must. Without some form of training, young people face a future of patching together strings of low-wage jobs, forever teetering on the brink of hardship in an unforgiving economy that rewards brains over brawn. Today virtually all jobs paying a decent wage require a degree or certificate.” In addition, as mentioned in the New York Times article, those without college degrees are more likely to be laid off.

In my research for my upcoming book helping young adults identify their strengths and interests as they move toward college and career,  I interviewed many college grads with outstanding student loans, all of whom told me that they wished they had known what they were getting into. Instead of attending elite schools they would have chosen state schools or gone with scholarships or grants they were offered. The bottom line is that college is what you make it, and if you can’t afford to go to an elite school there are many other choices to enable you to graduate without crushing debt. So by all means, get the degree, but be careful about the sacrifices you’re making to do so.