Being a young adult in this present U.S. economy is quite the challenge. With unemployment rate at 9% and quite higher for young adults, last year youth age 24 and younger had an 18.4% unemployment rate. High debt from schooling has not guaranteed a job or higher pay. Those college undergraduates that decided to go back to school and receive a graduate degree to evade the recession find themselves in just about the same position but now with much more debt.
Education should always be a positive investment, but in this economy it seems that going back to school has to be strategized and can end up being a set back. College costs have grown faster than inflation and lending practices have certainly changed. These factors have contributed to a lower amount of people going for advanced degrees. There were more men that earned doctorate degrees in 1975 than in 2005. The only reason the amount of PhDs grew during that period was because the number of women receiving doctorates tripled.
According to an annual report from the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington the doctorate degrees given in 2008-09 where 28,469 for men and 28,962 for women. The class of 2008-09 is believed to be the class to be performing the worst, employers prefer to hire recent graduates than to hire someone who has been out of work for such a long time.
Starting in the summer of 2012 the subsidized loan offered by the government will disappear for graduate students meaning they will start accruing interest on their loans the minute the money disburses. In the past low income graduate students could enjoy going to school interest free on their subsidized loan until 6 months (grace period) after graduation or their last date of attendance. Low income undergraduates will still have subsidized loans available to them. Those considering advancing their learning have to think it twice since degrees that take longer to finish will prove to be more expensive. The added costs will place a burden on the education of college students in a rather slow economy.
Education is what leads to economic growth if the present environment favors the small percentage that is wealthy, then that gives the 1% of the population more of a lead to dwarf all others. Occupy Wall Street is a sign of what young adults are going through, men and women that want to work and not feel bad because they took out a loan to pay for their education. Young men and women who want to start families in this decade and have the ability to buy a home. With little or no credit and student loans that look like mortgages it is difficult for this new generation not to feel upset. The American dream should not be impossible and young adults should not have to live with their parents until they are well into their 30's in order to be able to survive.
Our economy and society has to enhance our education and promote higher learning to all. We have to enable our society to compete at a global level to expand our growth. In a world where technology and innovation are rapidly accelerating we should encourage learning and invest in creating jobs that will enhance the quality of life of our society.