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Study Analyzes Recent Grads' Unemployment By Major 314

Hugh Pickens writes "A new report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce called 'Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal' analyzes unemployment by major. It shows that not enough students — and their families who are also taking on student loans — are asking what their college major is worth in the workforce. 'Too many students aren't sure what job they could get after four, five or even six years of studying a certain major and racking up education loans,' writes Singletary. 'Many aren't getting on-the-job training while they are in school or during their semester or summer breaks. As a result, questions about employment opportunities or what type of job they have the skills to attain are met with blank stares or the typical, "I don't know."' The reports found that the unemployment rate for recent graduates is highest in architecture (13.9 percent) because of the collapse of the construction and home-building industry and not surprisingly, unemployment rates are generally higher in non-technical majors (PDF), such as the arts (11.1 percent), humanities and liberal arts (9.4 percent), social science (8.9 percent) and law and public policy (8.1 percent)."
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Study Analyzes Recent Grads' Unemployment By Major

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  • by liamevo ( 1358257 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @11:49AM (#38774136)

    Anyone else sick of encountering this kind of thinking?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. I'm also really sick of the student loans crap. I worked my way through college, and busted my butt for a couple of tuition-only scholarships.
      I didn't borrow a cent, and people who think work starts after graduation definitely shouldn't.

      • I'd go out on a limb and guess that you are either older than 40 or you went to a fairly "cheap" school. I'm not implying your school was a bad one. I'm just saying the tuition must have been abnormally low.
          I would also like to point out, due to their nature, scholarships are limited to a few. You worked hard and got a scholarship, no doubt edging someone else out. What are they going to do for tuition?

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:22PM (#38774360) Homepage

          I did the exact same thing and went to the University of Michigan. You can go full time and work full time. A lot of young adults that dont have mommy or daddy pay their way do it every day. I had ZERO social life in school as I was either working,studying, or attending class or lab. My only friends that I spent any time with were room mates, once a week I would have about an hour to sit down and have a beer or two before bed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Rakishi ( 759894 )

            So you missed out on arguably the most important function of college: networking.

            It doesn't matter what you know as much as who you know, always been the case and will remain the case.

            • Networking? You network with your teachers who know plenty of people in industry. My physics professor said his friend was looking for a summer intern in geoengineering and it would pay really good money since it required you to travel the entire summer. Sadly, I had to turn it down because I need an actual REU over the summer.
            • by jpmorgan ( 517966 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:26PM (#38775334) Homepage

              College networking is not very useful. As an exercise, networking is about give and take; you need to be a valuable contact in order to attract valuable contacts. And as a college student, you are incredibly interchangeable and ultimately not very useful. Almost the only people you successfully 'network' with are the other college students you go out drinking with, and as far as contacts go, they're just as useless as you. It is absolutely not worth the tens of thousands in debt you seem to suggest. The only useful contacts you'll gain at university are professors and work related contacts from internships and jobs, and those are the contacts you'll gain from standing out from all of your 'networking' peers by working hard.

              Now, it's possible that one of your drinking buddies is going to be successful 10-15 years down the road, but you're going to have plenty of opportunity to network usefully between now and then, when you have real experience and expertise you can market yourself with, instead of "that guy who was really good at beer pong back in college."

              Justifying potentially tens of thousands of dollars of debt so that you can 'network' with a bunch of other college students is about the worst financial advice I've heard.

          • That is an awful way to live.

    • by AmberBlackCat ( 829689 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @11:57AM (#38774184)
      It's not that people think it's only good for a job. It's that you need to have some expectation of getting a return on the investment in order to justify what the education costs. Basically people can't afford to learn things.
    • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @11:59AM (#38774198)

      If you are rich enough to use it in furtherance of your hobbies, then by all means do so.

      The problem is that schools SELL education and are not in the business of telling students that a particular major is a stupid choice if you want food, clothing, and shelter after graduation.

      Once you have money, you have the power to pursue other interests. If you don't have money, you are, generally speaking, "fucked", and it's not out of line to remind potential education consumers of that.

      MANY young people entering college have heads full of feathers and won't figure this out on their own.

      • by sgt scrub ( 869860 ) <saintium@ y a h o o .com> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:53PM (#38774564)

        They are definately not places to go to take some courses out of curiosity. If you want to take some courses out of interest you have to go through all kinds of bullshit. I wanted to take some courses on data forensics at a local Jr College. Because they were not available as continuing education courses, they wanted me to transfer to the school. I didn't want to go through a transfer process to take a few courses so I told them no. As a result they wanted me to take placement tests. They also said I would have to take standard courses for the associates degree, english, math. etc... before being able to get INTO the classes.

        "Hi. Prior education? Yes. I received my ___ in ___ at ___ in 19__. And um huh? No I don't want to transfer to your shitty little Jr. College, that wasn't even built when I graduated, as a freshmen. I just want to take those 3 classes. Test what? Take 101 & 102 what and what?"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Education in America is way too expensive for many people to pursue it for its own sake. That is very sad, but it is also very true.

      • by FoolishOwl ( 1698506 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:26PM (#38774382) Journal

        And there's no good reason for that. Studying literature is a matter of reading books and discussing them, and the cost of producing a book has gone down over time. Textbooks are notoriously overpriced. Some fields require more expensive equipment -- but in general, that equipment has become cheaper to produce, or at worst has stayed at the same price. College instructors aren't particularly well paid.

        So where's all the money going?

        • It's largely because the government has demanded that colleges behave more like businesses and colleges themselves assume that students have better access to financial aid than they really do. I remember being unable to find a job when I was in college because I would have had to either buy a car or be on financial aid to get one. The coursework I was taking dictated that I had to be on campus in the middle of the night sometimes and bus service was non-existent late at night or early in the morning.

          The job

        • by toadlife ( 301863 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:32PM (#38774914) Journal

          College is not more expensive today. It's just that the state has subsidized less and less of the cost over the couple of decades, making it appear to cost more.

          This what people 40 and older don't get when they bitch and moan about students not being able to work their way through college like *they did* when they went to state school. It'd be pretty damn easy to work your way through college if tuition were still around $1000 a semester, but it's not 1980 any more.

          Banks, of course, have stepped in and filled the gap. I've seen a few prognosticators predict that the next financial bubble to pop will be student loans.

          • College is not more expensive today. It's just that the state has subsidized less and less of the cost over the couple of decades, making it appear to cost more.

            Yes and no. Both are true. In support of your second statement, read this article about the University of Illinois:

            For the first time in the Universityâ(TM)s history, it now receives a larger portion of its operating budget from tuition than from the state appropriation. In 1970, U of I received $12 in direct state tax support for each $1 in tuition revenue; in 2010, it was 80 cents from the state for every $1 in tuition. Families are filling the ever-widening gap left by the state in the form of higher tuition payments.

            However, another factor is that the administrative staff at universities has grown at a much faster pace than the number of students. I wish I could find the link, but it was something like: Number of students has, say, doubled since the 1970's - number of administrative staff has increased six-fold. Universities now have more programs that simply have litle to do with education. The president'

          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            Banks, of course, have stepped in and filled the gap. I've seen a few prognosticators predict that the next financial bubble to pop will be student loans.

            You're on the mark here.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:06PM (#38774270)
      I would say so, except that our system, has made vocational schooling a joke, where lazy dump people who can pass college go.
      Most people who go to school is because they need an advantage in the market. I was programming professionally while I was in high school, but I went to college because I knew the system wouldn't allow me to advance without a college degree. Then later I got to the point where work wouldn't respect my business decision so I got an MBA to force a degree of respect.
      It would be great if people who went to collage for a real education, however for most people it a licences to get paid more then minimum wage.
      If you want college to be for the pure education and learning, we need respectable vocational training for many professional activities.
    • Well, formal education sort of is. If you wanted to pursue a subject for only fun you could do that yourself, informally, at cost. However, the point of education, in this century, is too prepare people for the work place. The certificate is a uniform (pretty loose one though) metric for employers to see that you have the knowledge of a subject you claim to have, at a specific level (highschool, BS, MS, PhD). The education system basically saves every employer from having to test you when you apply for a jo
    • by FoolishOwl ( 1698506 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:15PM (#38774316) Journal

      I am.

      I am also tired of a model of social organization that cannot cope with the implications of exponentially growing productivity. I am becoming increasingly convinced that most paid labor amounts to busywork.

      • What is your line of reasoning for "most paid labor amounts to busywork?"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by FoolishOwl ( 1698506 )

          No rigorous study, but my experience of work, and what I have seen of friends and family.

          For instance, for several years I worked for a company that printed blueprints. Typically, an order would involve many sets of prints, each set dozens of pages long or longer, the paper typically 42"x30" or 36"x24". We would take the paper off printers, straighten the pages, count them, staple them, and ship them. There would be half a dozen or a dozen sets. Most of the architects and construction firms involved were re

          • Someone reades every note on every page. The clouds make it easy to see what changed in this issue. At the Jobsite trailer, they have every revision of every sheet collated into one set.

            Hard copies of large drawings are an order of magnitude easier to work with than PDFs, even with a 27" monitor.

            Compared to 10 years ago, the industry is much more digital, but the hard copies in the trailer are still well worn.

            We print about 2,000 sheets tomorrow for a throwaway set though.

    • Certified education is only useful for jobs. If your interested in education purely for education's sake, it can be done far more cheaply outside of a degree program.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:19PM (#38774342) Homepage

      Formal education is the only education that has any value....

      Anyone else sick of encountering this kind of thinking?

      Experience is worth FAR MORE than education. Yet I see a lot of jobs with a BS/BA degree requirement that have zero need for such a thing. For example Advertising sales position, WTF does that need a BS for?

      Luckily I dont have to deal with it, but I rarely see a new grad with a nice shiny new CS degree that can actually do the job.

      • Yes and could you imagine if someone had the experience and then decided to get the formal education? If you are a loyal employee and your company understands your value and wants you to advance, some are more than willing to cover some or all of the cost with getting the degree. The degree doesn't necessarily mean you are qualified to do any particular job, but it does say you can make a commitment to something and stick to it. But I know a couple people in the situation of being very skilled in their fiel
      • The problem is that today most people without the formal education are inferior candidates to most people with the degree. If you are in HR and you've got a thousand applicants to a job opening, then a checkbox 'has degree' is an easy way to cull the pool.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          This is probably just cumulative selection bias.

          You usually can't get the first job without the "credential", so you usually end up at a disadvantage when it comes to gaining useful experience. In most fields, a fresh graduate is pretty useless and they need to complete some sort of apprenticeship before they're worth anything.

          That leads to the next set of barriers in employment: "experience".

          The entire process feeds upon itself.

    • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:00PM (#38774614)

      What you are missing is that the value of your education is revealed when you are trying to sell your labor or products of it. So the value of your education is only what other people are voluntarily willing to pay for it. This doesn't mean you shouldn't study French Poetry. But it would be a bad investment to pay alot of money to do it when you could find places on the internet to learn and discuss it for free. This is something many people do for leisure.

      Many people in today's Pop culture confuse leisure and labor because there are some exceptional artists and athletes that are able to make considerable amounts of money doing what is in essence a leisure activity. Playing the guitar and singing is something most people do for fun. But if you are exceptional at it some people will pay money to watch you have fun. The same with sports. Most people play for fun. There are a few that are so good at it others will pay to watch them play a game.

      Borrowing money is only reasonable if you are building your productive capacity. Borrowing money is smart if you are building a factory, buying capital equipment, or learning a marketable skill. Borrowing money to learn a leisure activity is not a smart use of your time or money. So where you are confused is you should only borrow money to learn a job skill. But once you have that skill and are earning a higher income you can use that money to learn a leisure activity. Borrowing money to learn a leisure activity leaves you with no way of every paying back your loan.

    • by sco08y ( 615665 )

      Anyone else sick of encountering this kind of thinking?

      This is insightful? Even when we have thousands of people who were driven to march in protests because they're unemployed and saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt?

      No one is saying education is "only useful for jobs." What people are trying to get across is that how you're going to pay the bills for the next forty years needs to be a significant factor guiding your major life decisions.

  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @11:51AM (#38774148) Homepage

    All they do is get you past HR filters. Most people who are good at their jobs also do them as a hobby or have a genuine interest. Although it doesn't help either when you have $100k in loans and employers offer you $12/hr jobs.

    • by dattaway ( 3088 )

      A degree is a useful tool in the HR file. It is often used for grooming on the management fast track. Great for all sorts of perks. It's like traveling first class.

    • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki@[ ].net ['cox' in gap]> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:05PM (#38774258)


      Sure, in IT.

      You try to get a job in applied materials or life sciences or education.

      Just try explaining to the nice HR person you like hanging around a lot of prepubescent boys as a "hobby."

    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:20PM (#38774348) Homepage

      But getting past the HR filters are in fact the most important part of getting a job in the first place. Fuck experience. That's just for nogotiating a salary in the last minute. Some companies these days think you can learn on the job depending on the industry. Some even prefer you do it their way only. Taking on massive debt is required just to get a living wage. For most, it's purely survival.

      I got a well paying job now but plan on going back to college. I'm looking to upgrade my HR access badge. That's it. Pay now or pay later.

      In some countries like Kenya, you need something of a masters just to clean toilets. It's that competitive. Getting a degree these days is a required scam for most.

      • Well, that is only if you are going in through the front door. All the jobs I've gotten were through the back door, either personal reference or hungry recruiters. It probably doesn't hurt that I'm in an area with a wide range of opportunities and industries, but you'd be surprised at what you can accomplish by just keeping your ears open, talking to the right person, and saying the right things (you do have to have a certain amount of interpersonal skills, enough to read the other person's body language

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:24PM (#38774368) Homepage Journal
      A degree can be useful to provide basic process skills and techniques in problem solving. While technical training and the like can provide targeted skills for immediate employment, however those skills may not long be in demand. For instance, it is one thing to know how use MS Office, it is another to have general skills in office applications and the ability to write an effective memo or technical report. It is one thing to complete simple assigned tasks with supervision, it is another thing to have advanced time management and organizational skills so one can plan and complete complex projects with minimal supervision.

      In any case, the linked article did not limit itself to degrees. The evidence seemed to suggest that have a experience before graduation was important. That was the way it was during my time of graduating when the economy was not in great shape. Most people I know who got jobs had significant related experience prior to graduation, some paid, some volunteer. And I don't think we expected anyone to give us a job, at least not for a lifetime. Many of us created situation in which we were valuable, and if that value lapsed we created new situation in which we were valuable. This level of expectations, in which employers or the government was required to employ us simply because we existed, was not so much emphasized.

      I don't want to come off as lecturing, but the current language in the presidential campaign seems particularly counter productive. Everyone is taking about a few select job creators being in control of out lives, which is not really the case. We can all be in control of our futures, at least to some extent. We don't have to wait for some Ayn Rand savior to give us a sense of worth. We can do it for ourselves, through work, through education, through creating of products. And that is products, not just taking a bit off the top in transactions.

    • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:40PM (#38774474)

      Here are two true stories.

      I worked as a support contractor on a NASA center. A friend of mine was a PhD Chemist on the same contract and NASA wanted to hire him. They wrote a job description for what they needed which he was qualified for. He submitted his resume through the USAJOBS.gov website but didn't get through the HR filter. They actually didn't get any qualified applicants but it took 6 months to put the ad back up and by then they lost funding.

      I saw a NASA job that was right up my alley and I knew the people who would be reviewing the resumes that got through the filter. I put my resume in and under the "other information" I copied and pasted the WHOLE job listing. I got through the HR filter and got the interview. The person I knew looked at my resume which included the copied and pasted job listing under "other information". When I interviewed he asked me about it and said it was a pretty clever way of bypassing the filter. I got the job.

      • by hawk ( 1151 )

        That usajobs contraption is a disaster.

        Several years ago, I had an agency *very* interested in (in fact, they had been for a couple of years).

        I sent everything through that wretched site, and it jus plain black-holed. It never even went for screening.


    • I keep hearing that, but all of the half-assed "hobbyist" code I have had to clean up in the past begs to differ. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have enough passion for what they do to learn how to do it as well or better than someone who studied it in school, but I really doubt that would describe "most people". Maybe I just lack the will power, but I wouldn't be half as good at what I do if I wasn't forced to learn it in college.
    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:01PM (#38774624)
      The "HR filter" does have a rational idea behind it. The college degree does demonstrate one important thing. That the holder can *finish* a long, sometimes boring and somewhat bureaucratic process. Many people can start a "project", only some of them can finish a "project".

      In computer science the university program does offer valuable training. While it is possible to be self taught in these topics very few individuals will actually do so. People who are self taught tend to only study those topic they are interested in. They tend to have obvious gaps in their knowledge compared to the university trained. I only know one self taught person who had the discipline, initiative and ability to read and understand university level textbooks on the full range of topics covered in a university program.

      I would agree that some levels of debt seem insane and make it hard to justify the university education but to be honest the problem seems somewhat exaggerated. If one goes to a state university and works part time when class is in session and full time in the summer one can still graduate debt free or with minimal debt. IIRC the average tuition+boarding cost for a 4-year school is US$13K per year. Even without working at all the debt would be about half what you cite.
    • by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:52PM (#38775070) Homepage

      Unless you want your brain to still function well when you're older [nytimes.com]. Summary of findings: Those with 4-year degrees have brains which, in terms of capability, are 10 years younger by middle age, and beyond. So it's not just about getting a job right out of college. It's about still having a well-functioning mind when you're 50, 60, 70.

      What would you pay to be ten years younger, in other words? Makes college education look cheap, at about any price.

  • I think the reason nobody knows what major will cause them to get a good job is because no major will cause them to get a good job. That thing about going to college to get a good job, that's over. At least in the United States.
    • Sad but true. The jobs have to exist regardless of education. It isn't like someone with a B.S. doesn't have the skills to cram & test for certifications in different fields.

  • The value of a college education should not lie in the career opportunities it opens up for the graduates.

    Sometimes it is the case that career opportunities is the only value offered by schools. Many colleges are little more than trade schools that replace apprenticeships with four years of studies. Some schools are so bad that they don't even amount to that.

    But it seems to me that if one wants to learn a trade (even if that trade is a white collar one like computer programming) then apprenticeships have fa

  • subsidies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 )

    no surprise that you'll see that gov't subsidised so called 'education' industry has the lowest unemployment rates there.

    Of-course this will cost the economy dearly, as all these gov't subsidised education loans are going to cause the same exact effect as gov't subsidised housing loans and other debt (bonds) had.

  • Rocket Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by datavirtue ( 1104259 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:05PM (#38774254)

    Study what interests you and inspires passion. If nothing inspires passion in you then you had better gain some type of technical skill. Everyone in my college is either pursuing a "business administration" degree or "computer technology." It is getting ridiculous. Business administration should be something you study along the way in any degree program. The demand for technical people is so high in the IT industry that most people following that degree path will likely get jobs, regardless of their skills. The amount of engineering students is microscopic in comparison to the rest. I haven't met anyone yet who is studying engineering to become a systems developer, it is a lonely path. During labs I spend most of my time tutoring people.

    • The demand for technical people is so high in the IT industry that most people following that degree path will likely get jobs, regardless of their skills.

      If your in the U.S. can you narrow it down and provide a citation please. Last I looked people hiring were only hiring to bring wages down or outsourcing.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:05PM (#38774260)

    I see the results of "engineering-only" education every day. I see co-workers utterly lacking critical thinking skills or any curiosity, passively accepting whatever the mainstream media or the software vendors tell them, and who get insanely defensive when you poke holes in the wet toilet paper of their core political/cultural/technical/economic/religious beliefs. I see walking, living proof every day that technical competence != global intelligence.

    Some of this is neurological, of course. I work in the software industry, an area filled with more than its share of mildly autistic souls. The rest, however, could have had their worldview drastically enhanced with a couple of courses in comparative cultural anthropology, a few philosophy courses discussing epistemology and some critical studies of human history, just as the liberal arts crew would benefit hugely from some significant study of math, physics and engineering.

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmajik ( 96670 ) <matt@mattevans.org> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:07PM (#38774274) Homepage Journal

    Having everyone go to college hasn't made Americans smarter.

    It has made universities dumber.

    Even though I had been coding since 5th grade, I didn't know what I wanted to go to university for until late into highschool, when ultimately it occured to me that I may as well get the paper that says I can do what I already enjoyed doing.

    My dad called some larger IT and software employers' recruiting departments and asked what sort of degrees they screen for, and more importantly, what degree-issuing institutions they look for.

    Their answer was, roughly, if you have a CS degree, it doesn't matter where its from (unless its from MIT :))

    So I went through the Barrrons College guide and made a list of schools that had CS and separate compE programs; i ranked them by cost and by SAT score of average incoming class. I restricted my search to schools that were ranked above ... 50th or 100th? place in "engineering", however arbitrary that is.

    Then I went and talked to those schools, got a rough idea of which ones would give me what kinds of academic scholarships, and then chose a subset of state universities to apply to.

    Part of this process is being honest about yourself. I beleive that technically, I met all of the admission requirements to get into Caltech. I noted howeer, that their average incoming freshman had SAT and ACT scores around 5 to 10% higher than where I had tested. Additionally, tuition at that time was around $30k/year.

    I figured that there was little sense in struggling to get into the bottom half of the Caltech freshman class, only to pay a six figure sum and to have to work my ass off just to keep my head above water and hopefully graduate. Certainly I expect I would have had a more rigorous experience, and networked with higher caliber professors and students, and perhaps had a better pick of employers for internships and eventual employment.

    But honestly, while I have _some_ smarts and _some_ drive, there are obviously people who have more of _both_, and I see little reason to compete with them if I don't have to :)

    I was accepted to UIUC (then a top 5 CS school), but they knew they were a competitive program and they offered me no financial incentives to attend.

    Ultimately, I went to the University of Nebraska, which offered me a full ride, allowed me to coast in non-interesting courses, and allowed me plenty of 1:1 time with professors who were interesting. The more mid-pack freshman class allowed me to differentiate myself easily from my peers in areas where I excelled.

    I left school with a good GPA, plenty of knowledge that I didn't have when I started, and a full time offer at a software company you may have heard of. And no student debt.

    The point of this is that if we're not equipping American kids to do even a rudimentary cost-benefit analysis; if they have no idea why they are _going_ to a university... well, they probably have no business going, and it is abhorrent that US taxpayers are paying for them to go.

    I am romantically in favor of the idea of the mysty eyed dreamer going to school for indian tribal botany or some other esoteric pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. That's actually probably closer to the original idea of the university. But that experience is something he or she needs to pay for privately -- asking me to help is ridiculous. Making it national policy and funding it at the federal level is suicidal.

    The debt-treadmill of university is insidious. Making it easy to get the money to go means more people are going, and in response to the rising costs that are a natural consequence of more demand, the Feds loan out more money. And so the cycle continues, and we have more and more entrants with less and less ability to pay who have no idea what they are going to do once their 4-6 years of partying are over and they need to start paying off the debt they accured.

    • University of Nebraska? Which one? O, L, or K?

    • I am romantically in favor of the idea of the mysty eyed dreamer going to school for indian tribal botany or some other esoteric pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.

      Here's the thing that bothers me: the academic subjects that do not directly correspond to vocational skills shouldn't require much in the way of resources to teach or study. Liberal arts students basically need access to a library or a museum, and to meet each other and discuss ideas. That shouldn't be expensive, but I paid far more to study literature at a university than I did to study more practical skills in IT at community college.

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:39PM (#38774472)

      Even though I had been coding since 5th grade, I didn't know what I wanted to go to university for until late into highschool, when ultimately it occured to me that I may as well get the paper that says I can do what I already enjoyed doing.

      Stop right there. People like me and you have conservative path to moderate success, which is a good thing for the bulk of the population to do. But based on the sentence I quoted, have you ever stopped to think how lucky you are to be born with an interest and talent that also happens to be one of the more reliable ways to make a living? Seriously... imagine if the biggest sector of the US economy was ballet. Would your rational process translated into success for you as a ballet dancer? Or might you struggle?

      • by bmajik ( 96670 )

        Sure. Every day I am thankful that I have a good memory, that I am pretty clever, that I had a dad who was involved, and that he was a kick ass dad.

        That said, I know plenty of people who didn't have involved parents, and/or didn't have natural ability or inclination to learning, etc.

        They are still able to make a reliable living because they can do something that is of value to others. That's the same reason that I have a job -- somebody who is either more talented than I or works harder than I (or both, u

    • I am romantically in favor of the idea of the mysty eyed dreamer going to school for indian tribal botany or some other esoteric pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. That's actually probably closer to the original idea of the university. But that experience is something he or she needs to pay for privately -- asking me to help is ridiculous. Making it national policy and funding it at the federal level is suicidal.

      I agreed with you up to this point. While it doesn't work in the US, this "romantic" ideal

  • Every summer while I was in undergrad, I was taking classes for my degree, working my ass off to pay my tuition and other bills, or both. I'm baffled by the students who feel entitled to spring break in some exotic location and summer break to do nothing of any value. Not once during my undergrad years was I more than 600 miles from school with the exception of a conference my employer sent me to for undergraduate research I was working on.
    • by bmajik ( 96670 )

      My response growing up to "MTV spring break" epsidoes was always, "I sure wish I could get into the (hypothetical) pants of those girls like everyone else must be doing, but I hope all of this is a total fabrication. We can't honestly have so many bacchanalian dimwits who find this enjoyable and a worthwhile expenditure of their time and of other peoples money, can we?"

      I had software and IT internships all 4 years I was in school. I wanted the experience and resume bling. That was some of my most interes

      • As I recall, "spring break" was the period between when your term papers were assigned, and when they were due. I spent them in the library. I didn't have time or money to see my family, much less take a vacation anywhere. And I didn't know anyone for whom that wasn't true.

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:13PM (#38774304)
    The only reason why I see medical and education with low unemployment is that the colleges have a strong working relationships with these organizations and a professor recommendation will get you far. Other majors colleges do little or less to keep professional ties with people who hire from these majors.
    Engineering and tech is higher mostly because there is demmand for anyone with some real math training. Most of the highest unemployed majors treat math like one of those silly thing you never needed anyway, and is there to turture children.
  • by Elf Sternberg ( 13087 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:18PM (#38774332) Homepage

    An old idea, floated in the 19th century by highly conservative economists, the capability tax was the idea that people should be taxed based upon what they were capable of earning, rather than what they earned. The idea was to discourage smart people from going into art, the humanities, liberal arts, and so forth, and encourage them to go into meaningful, productive fields, where their capabilities would be put to full use. Whether or not you enjoyed the work was irrelevant, and only liberals cared about that.

    The paper is basically encouraging us to think in these term, to ask students to go into fields they may well hate, because that's where they have to go to (1) get a decent education, and (2) make enough to pay off their ultimate student loans.

    • Next time you go to a movie, read a book, look at a picture in a magazine or llisten to music I want you to think about that stupid little thought experiment.

      I know other people like you. They deride non-STEM majors and yet they love to quote their favorite movies and songs, etc. Apparently "smart" people can be fairly stupid, too.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:35PM (#38774438) Journal
    1. if you're in the Arts, you are in the Arts because YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO - money has nothing to do with it.
    2. If you want to make a good wage ASAP, then don't bother with university - get a job as a plumber or an electrician or one of those guys who repairs elevators. They make stupid amounts of money. IS the work intellectually challenging? No, but that's not the question.
    3. If you want to really prepare for the future, just look at the splits. A classic example is energy vs. demand vs. technology. Most people heat their homes with oil or gas. Both are limited resources and both are "not good" for the world when burned. So, preparing houses for a world without oil or gas is a REALLY GOOD IDEA and if you make a business that can do a package on a home (insulation/windows retro/geothermal heating + solar electric on roof) at a reasonable price, You Will Make A Lot Of Money and be helping preapre society for the post-carbon future. Get in to it NOW while the field is sparse. When it heats up, clean up.
    4. The split between the living and the dead. The boomers are set to go into die off mode. Mortuary services will explode over the next 10 - 20 years (esp. if the USA never implements national health - poor old folks will die off right quick without medicare). Start a funeral home. Print money.

    If you're looking to be a slave to some giant machine - those jobs will become fewer and farther between. In the next world, you're on your own. You will need to INVENT your future. If you don't have the brains to suss that out, then don't bother with university.

  • The sorted list (Score:5, Informative)

    by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:47PM (#38774522)

    Journalism has a lower unemployment rate than engineering? Wow.

    1) Sorted by Unemployment rate, lowest to highest:

    Major -- Unemployment Rate -- Starting Salary
    Education -- 5.4 -- 33000
    Health -- 5.4 -- 43000
    Agricultural and Nat. Res -- 7 -- 32000
    Comm. and Journalism -- 7.3 -- 33000
    Business -- 7.4 -- 39000
    Engineering -- 7.5 -- 55000
    Science - life/physical -- 7.7 -- 32000
    Law and Public Policy -- 8.1 -- 34000
    Computers and Math. -- 8.2 -- 46000
    Recreation -- 8.3 -- 30000
    Social Science -- 8.9 -- 37000
    Humanities and Liberal Arts -- 9.4 -- 31000>
    Arts -- 11.1 -- 30000

    2) Sorted by starting salary, lowest to highest:

    Major -- Unemployment Rate -- Starting Salary
    Recreation -- 8.3 -- 30000
    Arts -- 11.1 -- 30000
    Humanities and Liberal Arts -- 9.4 -- 31000
    Agricultural and Nat. Res -- 7 -- 32000
    Science - life/physical -- 7.7 -- 32000
    Education -- 5.4 -- 33000
    Comm. And Journalism -- 7.3 -- 33000
    Law and Public Policy -- 8.1 -- 34000
    Social Science -- 8.9 -- 37000
    Business -- 7.4 -- 39000
    Health -- 5.4 -- 43000
    Computers and Math. -- 8.2 -- 46000
    Engineering -- 7.5 -- 55000

    • Re:The sorted list (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:02PM (#38774628)

      Journalism has a lower unemployment rate than engineering? Wow.

      What happened to the 'story at eleven' meme?

      Look at the list from the point of view of ease of outsourcing and it will start to make sense. Education, health, agriculture, natural resources and journalism are all thing you have to do on location. Engineering, computers and math can be done anywhere. And they command higher salaries, so the motivation to seek cheaper labor is higher.

  • In the tech field you have alot of learn on your own people and ALOT Stuff that is hands on that you can't get in a class room (tech schools are better). community colleges also some times offer the same classes that tech schools do but they do max at 2 years. But community / tech schools are good for continuing education skill in IT. continuing education for IT should not be BA , PHD , MA that is a poor fit for IT and that is what happens when you try to jam into the old college system.

    community colleges /

  • Did this person read their own data? Engineers have about the same unemployment rate as business majors. Computer programmers have a higher rate of unemployment, and education much lower. The data just doesn't support the conclusions. At all.

    Like not even a little.
  • by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:31PM (#38774904) Homepage
    Perhaps the problem is that our corporate profit driven economy and government have created a culture that only values - read: hires and pays well - careers that directly benefit the bottom line. If, as many expect, we're diving into both global warming and a global financial crash, we may regret that choice. We may need people who can think creatively and tangentially, not a thousand more MBAs.
    • People do not notice long slow trends in part because you have to be old to have seen it; if you noticed it at all-- and if the trend was within a single lifetime.

      College was something different in the past. It was not for everybody either. People who went into college already had status because not just anybody could get in but also not just anybody would even want to get in. Completing college was another level of status. It was this status, this prestige that gained which was beneficial later one in mul

  • WashPo owns Kaplan (Score:4, Informative)

    by wdavies ( 163941 ) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:43PM (#38775448) Homepage

    Why is there no warning about conflict of interest here? Everytime the Washington Post opens its mouth about Higher Education Policy of any kind, it should be known that they are owners of the $2.3 billion business Kaplan, a major profiteerer in the War on Poor Students...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Post_Company [wikipedia.org]

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.