Skeptics of the “college for all” movement point to a troubling statistic. Of recent 4-year college grads, a whopping 54 percent are jobless or underemployed, and many live with their parents.* Yet new research unsettles the skeptics’ position. Recent high school grads who did not go on to college face prospects that are far worse.
According to The New York Times, a new survey of recent high school grads who did not go to college finds that “only 16 percent of the classes of 2009-11 had full-time jobs. An additional 22 percent were working part time, and most of them wanted full-time work.” Yikes.
Of course, “college” doesn’t have to mean the four-year variety. Two-year schools, technical schools and even some certificates can pave the way to rewarding careers without leaving students with a mountain of debt. But students cannot follow those other paths without getting a strong academic foundation in high school.
How much more evidence do we need that high school graduates who aren’t “college ready” face grim prospects?
* It’s worth noting, by the way, that recent college grads in STEM fields have fared much, much better than their peers in other fields.