While stories about recent college graduates’ struggles to find a
good job have become increasingly common over the past few
years, we show that this experience is not a new phenomenon,
nor one that can be ascribed simply to the Great Recession
and the ensuing weakness in the labor market. Our analysis
demonstrates that new college graduates typically take some
time to transition into the labor market and find jobs that
utilize their education
China may be about to overtake the US as the world’s largest economy, but its labor force lacks the skills that it needs to propel the country to high-income status. Changing this will require comprehensive education reform that expands opportunities for children and strengthens skills training for adults.
Earning a four-year college degree remains a worthwhile investment for the average student. Data from U.S. workers show that the benefits of college in terms of higher earnings far outweigh the costs of a degree, measured as tuition plus wages lost while attending school. The average college graduate paying annual tuition of about $20,000 can recoup the costs of schooling by age 40. After that, the difference between earnings continues such that the average college graduate earns over $800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age.
One of the challenges in higher education policy is to ensure that universities are open to students from all backgrounds and that they don’t simply perpetuate social inequalities. Anne Corbett and Niccolo Durazzi write on the experiences with ‘open’ university systems in countries such as France and Italy. They note that the social inclusiveness of such systems appears to be less than in other European systems, and that admission processes alone are unlikely to be able to correct for this. However ultimately all European universities need to rethink their admission processes and their policies for ensuring students have a chance of success once they begin their studies.