generation limbo: 20-somethings today, debt, unemployment, the questionable value of a college education

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also regularly enjoy connor friedersdorfenbergerdorf or whatever

― what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, November 8, 2011 4:52 PM Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

Holy crap, I have had this guy on my gchat buddy list for like two years thinking he was some law school classmate I couldn't remember. Now I realize that I had an e-mail exchange with him a while back in response to something he wrote in the Atlantic -- maybe even an article about Law School.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 22:43 (eight years ago) link

she goes between 'troll' and 'doesnt know very much about subject she's talking about'

at the end of the day the fact thy people like her and Brooks have jobs as intellectuals is pretty good evidence that we dont have a great meritocracy.

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 23:08 (eight years ago) link

thy = that

iPhone making me talk all fancy like

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 23:09 (eight years ago) link

Similarly, in the 1990s, when I worked with a lot of mostly blue-collar and first-generation college grads (with a fair sprinkling of Ivy Leaguers, to be sure), I didn't hear nearly so much about the rich and how greedy they were--even though in the late 1990s, income inequality was almost certainly worse than it is right now.

I thought this was a choice quote - "almost certainly worse" - wait, you are paid to write articles like these and you can't just look this up? income inequality is certainly-certainly worse today.

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 23:18 (eight years ago) link

Oh god I just read more of that McArdle piece, it's so headsmackingly awful at every turn. She reminds me of the ex-girlfriend who once bragged to me (while we were in college) that of all of the children of clients of her family's tax accountant, she had made the most money (because she worked a full-time summer job). I pointed out to her that that was probably because the kind of person who has to work full-time during school isn't usually the kind of person whose family has a tax accountant. "Oh come on," she replied, "everyone has an accountant." (my parents didn't)

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 00:21 (eight years ago) link

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/11/unemployment

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 00:41 (eight years ago) link

one thing he doesn't point out is that tyler cowen makes his $ as a social-sciences professor at george mason university. there are def worse situations to be in than an econ major from a mid-tier public school but let's not pretend that's a sure ticket to, well, anywhere.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 00:44 (eight years ago) link

I mean the dude is teaching at a place where only 64% of students graduate after 6 years and those who do have an average debt load of $22,219. he doesn't have to go very far time find some people who will soon be in pretty shitty employment situations. being able to write a 5 page essay on 'public choice economics' is not actually a valuable skill for the workforce.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 01:17 (eight years ago) link

go very far to find*

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 01:19 (eight years ago) link

64% is a pretty good graduation rate these days, iirc!

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 01:23 (eight years ago) link

that's true and if it were a european university it might not even be a tragic statistic, but w/ the american cost structure it is. I mean he's teaching at 'the cheap option' ~20k/y total cost - and fewer than 40% of entering students are actually earning that 80k degree in 4 years. and in the bigger picture of higher ed this still falls under 'not as bad as most places'. if he can't find a current student in a shitty economic situation he's not looking very hard. anyway he probably has weirdo libertarian kids who make 53% signs in his classes.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 01:37 (eight years ago) link

that's true and if it were a european university it might not even be a tragic statistic, but w/ the american cost structure it is.

64% would be appalling in most of europe wouldn't it?

caek, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 09:28 (eight years ago) link

idk I was mostly going off my knowledge of the french public uni system where it's pretty easy to fail an entire year / drop out / take forever to graduate. seems like it's easier to justify those things when your only investment is time.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:07 (eight years ago) link

64% is a pretty good graduation rate these days, iirc!

that's mind-boggling to me

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:12 (eight years ago) link

fucking megan mcardle

horseshoe, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:13 (eight years ago) link

no thank you

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:13 (eight years ago) link

otm

horseshoe, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:15 (eight years ago) link

Attrition is the American way in education at all levels. The whole Rube Goldberg machine leaks at every valve. Fewer than 70 percent of high school students graduate. Just over 70 percent of those graduates will enter some form of postsecondary education. But barely more than half of those who start BA programs will finish them in six years, and only 30 percent of those who start community college will win an associate degree in three years. After that point, most people don’t manage to graduate.

Source: Our Universities: Why Are They Failing?

o. nate, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:39 (eight years ago) link

that's mind-boggling to me

yeah i think the top tier colleges are p much the only exception to the stats o.nate posted e.g. harvard's graduation rate is 97%, stanfords 95%.

so solaris (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:03 (eight years ago) link

Cowen responds to Avent:

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/11/and-the-actuaries-shall-eat.html

o. nate, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:04 (eight years ago) link

the expensive little lutheran school i went to has graduation rates in the mid 80s, but it felt like a 4 year summer camp

goole, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:05 (eight years ago) link

er i had a point there...

if it's nice to be in, and the kids there are well supported, healthy, don't have much life stress... kind of like rich high schools, rich grade schools, etc.

goole, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:07 (eight years ago) link

one thing i can't shake when thinking about college, as a historical thing, is that the whole model of higher education, the liberal arts, whatever, wasn't to make good workers or even make more geniuses but to make gentlemen.

that looks kind of forehead-slap dumb now that i write it out tho.

goole, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:10 (eight years ago) link

I think you're right on the history, at least in the past couple of centuries. If you go back even further, I guess it was designed mainly to prepare people for roles in the Church.

o. nate, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:17 (eight years ago) link

to prepare white people

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:22 (eight years ago) link

Is that from a cookbook?

o. nate, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:27 (eight years ago) link

generation mojo de ajo

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:29 (eight years ago) link

that an institution serves a totally different purpose than it did back in the day isn't necessarily a bad thing...you can def argue that our 'best scholars in the world' university system was a competitive advantage for our economy over most of the 20th century despite its 'make gentlemen' origins

it's maybe harder to argue that its a net plus in 2011. lotsa good comparisons w/ health care system.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:56 (eight years ago) link

yeah i think the top tier colleges are p much the only exception to the stats o.nate posted e.g. harvard's graduation rate is 97%, stanfords 95%.

― so solaris (Lamp), Wednesday, November 9, 2011 12:03 PM (53 minutes ago) Bookmark

yeah but these places bend over backwards to make sure that nobody fails out

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:57 (eight years ago) link

they operate as businesses and it is not in their long-terml financial interest to have people drop out. it's sorta a shame public schools don't have this logic but that would require them to also turn into alumni donation-based corporations

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:11 (eight years ago) link

xp to dayo - yeah, totally, ime the level of institutional support at those places is p fantastic & theres def an emphasis placed on graduating everyone (and everyone getting at least at a b). where i work now im always surprised by how little effort is put into student services or making sure everyone does well &c &c

mostly tho i was sorta echoing dan's surprise at how low the 6 year graduation rate in general is because that was outside my undergrad xp

so solaris (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:16 (eight years ago) link

yeah, totally, ime the level of institutional support at those places is p fantastic
yeah -- please compare expensive 4-year private schools with qualified therapists available as but one of many varied student services with community colleges that have no therapists and are not anything summer camp like at all. now compare their graduation rates. investment in student support services is directly related to graduation rates/"student success".

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:36 (eight years ago) link

I remember reading some article about Yale law school investing in a dog that students could rent out when they felt sad

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:37 (eight years ago) link

how novel

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:38 (eight years ago) link

mostly tho i was sorta echoing dan's surprise at how low the 6 year graduation rate in general is because that was outside my undergrad xp

I mean, I didn't expect to see graduation rates across the board to equal the Ivies, but I didn't expect to see 66% quoted as a high rate, either; I would have guessed a national average somewhere in the low 80s.

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:39 (eight years ago) link

no way
however, it was news when it was revealed that chicago state had a graduation rate of like 9% or something like that
that's notably bad

30-50%? not that bad.

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:41 (eight years ago) link

think about all of the reasons people leave school, then think about all of the reasons people don't finish in this magical 6 year period -- it adds up

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:41 (eight years ago) link

I would def learn to juggle to work as a happiness consultant at yale

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:42 (eight years ago) link

But are these actually dropout rates, or do they lump transfers in as well?

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:43 (eight years ago) link

9%? wau

TBH my perception is very, very skewed because the vast majority of reasons why ppl would leave school were covered by undergrad services; multiple ppl had kids and still graduated in 6 years, had drug dependency issues and still graduated in 6 years, went crazy to the point of involuntary committal and still finished in 6 years, etc.

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:45 (eight years ago) link

it's not a measurement of dropouts, but graduations

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:45 (eight years ago) link

(to xtine)

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:45 (eight years ago) link

No, I meant that the graduation rate may have been artificially depressed by the number of transfers. I know that it works that way in some states with high schools.

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:50 (eight years ago) link

If those same grads are highly willing to be geographically mobile, highly willing to consider actuarial training, and highly willing to take tougher courses and study where the jobs are (doesn’t have to be tech subjects, some of those are failing too), the unemployment response to a given AD shock will be much lower.

anyway i think this is both wrong and misleading. on the whole as someone pointed out upthread its fine to say on individual level 'oh you shouldve been an actuary not a puppeteer' or w/e but there are hardly enough actuarial (or electrical engineering or software dev) jobs to give to everyone. also theres both an information and a time lag in education and its hard to fault anyone for not being prescient enough to know that IT jobs would be oversubscribed and actuaries would not or w/e.

realistically (and as well) most (white collar) jobs are only well-paying because they havent been outsourced/mechanized efficiently yet or because some credentialing body artificially restricts the supply neither of which bodes well for the prospects of young ppl in high school. the reason cowen's argument is particularly bad is because it obscures the real problem, which is that college is a bad investment for most ppl and is probably becoming increasingly worse one

so solaris (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:54 (eight years ago) link

otm across the board

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 18:57 (eight years ago) link

TBH my perception is very, very skewed because the vast majority of reasons why ppl would leave school were covered by undergrad services; multiple ppl had kids and still graduated in 6 years, had drug dependency issues and still graduated in 6 years, went crazy to the point of involuntary committal and still finished in 6 years, etc.

― dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, November 9, 2011 1:45 PM (10 minutes ago) Bookmark

yeah, I knew a person who completely failed across the board all her classes one semester, was given a mulligan

try doing that at a public school

there was also a story in the student newspaper about a student who stopped going to classes because she was playing WoW 16 hours a day

bet she prob ended up graduating too

in the end, ivies are probably willing to rubber stamp somebody on the way out if they get to keep their graduation rate in the 90% range

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:01 (eight years ago) link

Every school I've been to (4 state colleges and one community college) has had grad rates from 7 percent (at the community college) to the low 30s percents at the highest.

My friend works at one of the state colleges with a special retention program that he spearheaded – he grew up in Compton and he tries to get kids from there to go to this college and then stay in. He's got a really small support network at the college and threats of funding cuts all the time. It's totally crushing him because he's got so many out-of-school factors he's competing with. I was obv not in his program but he was and is a mentor to me and he's one of the biggest reasons I graduated college at all (I mean look at my track record there). He's the one who convinced me I could go to grad school and guided me through that whole process. I think my point is he's an anomaly at the kind of schools I've been to and it was just awesome luck that he's part of my life. The cost for him to choose to help people like that is more taxing than I could handle.

ghost grapes (Abbbottt), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:07 (eight years ago) link

anyway i think this is both wrong and misleading. on the whole as someone pointed out upthread its fine to say on individual level 'oh you shouldve been an actuary not a puppeteer' or w/e but there are hardly enough actuarial (or electrical engineering or software dev) jobs to give to everyone. also theres both an information and a time lag in education and its hard to fault anyone for not being prescient enough to know that IT jobs would be oversubscribed and actuaries would not or w/e.

realistically (and as well) most (white collar) jobs are only well-paying because they havent been outsourced/mechanized efficiently yet or because some credentialing body artificially restricts the supply neither of which bodes well for the prospects of young ppl in high school. the reason cowen's argument is particularly bad is because it obscures the real problem, which is that college is a bad investment for most ppl and is probably becoming increasingly worse one

― so solaris (Lamp)

I already sorta said this but I think what bothers me most is the inability for someone like cowen to contextualize this. he is *in the belly of this beast*, his current paycheck depends on people believing that a non-technical degree from a so-so american public college is a *good investment*. his future paychecks depend on that demand!

dude is the most annoying person on my google reader feed but he's still worth reading I guess.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:43 (eight years ago) link

Studying puppetry and then not getting a job sounds sort of like boomer-parent life expectations colliding with our generation's reality. But yeah it's kind of a strawman too inasmuch as it's not very representative.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:43 (eight years ago) link

For reference, the 4 and 6-year graduation rates are the %age of first-time college students entering the school as freshmen who graduate from that school after 4 or 6 years. So yes students who transfer to other institutions and ultimately graduate count against reported graduation rates. As do dropouts and lingerers.

whoop, up the butt it goes (silby), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 19:47 (eight years ago) link


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