In the days of a massive blue-collar workforce and a small percentage of Americans seeking higher education, a bachelor’s degree meant guaranteed employment. In the last 10 to 20 years however, high school graduation rates are rising and college enrollment has followed suit–resulting in a fundamental shift for what means guaranteed employment in our workforce.
The steady rise of college seeking high school graduates hit a peak in 2009 with more than 70 percent of said demographic enrolling in secondary education. This would perhaps be of little consequence in a socialist economy where students do not have to pay for college, but in the United States this simply means gravy for student loan services and practically unavoidable debt for students.
According to an article on the George Town University website, by 2020–65 percent of all jobs in our economy will require post-secondary education and training beyond high school.
The bachelor’s degree has now become the new high school diploma, and a master’s degree is now what sets the potentially employed apart from the pack. This is the perception we have now reached. This fundamental shift is not just within the socially constructed norms of who should seek education and how much education they should seek, but as indicated by the facts, graduate level education has become needed in order to facilitate higher employment and job security.
Jobs in blue-collar fields used to be what was left for students who didn’t go to college. As time has passed however, it has become more necessary for those workers to attend trade school, technical school, or make up for lack of education with whatever work experience they can attain. Some factory jobs that could previously be attended by workers without even a high school diploma or GED now tend to require post-secondary education of some nature.
Higher education enrollment as a whole is positive, and raised post-graduate enrollment is in fact, one of the most positive aspects in this shift. Often when students begin post-secondary education they don’t know what they want to do. This sometimes results in students getting degrees in fields they do not feel passionate about.
Graduate education offers students a second chance at finding their true passion and becoming well educated in it, devoid of menial classes that aren’t involved with said field of study. Many masters programs also offer stipends that cover much, or all of the costs for program participants.
The rising cost of education is combated with its increased need. On one hand, young people who value staying out of debt may want to opt out of col-lege. On the other, opting out of college comes with a laundry list of negative by products. This means young people are systematically driven into the tragedy of financial debt.
The shift in American higher education may very well outline the importance of an accompanying shift in the way students pay for, or don’t pay for, college. As it is, the average college student graduates with more than 10,000 dollars in student loan debt. This is a great business model for maintaining the credit system, and helps keep Americans addicted to a flawed and romantic, albeit disgusting, mentality of paying for things with money they don’t have.