Today’s graduates face miserable job prospects, and experts say the student loan crisis could be worse than the credit card or housing bubbles.
It’s the beginning of summer: warmer weather, longer days, the end of the school year. And that means graduation for thousands of young people across the U.S.; graduation with more student debt than ever before, and into a job market that is anything but promising.
Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 face an unemployment rate nearly twice that of the rest of the population, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute. 2010’s 18.4 percent rate for youth was the worst in the 60 years that economists have collected such data. ColorLines notes that in 2010, 8.4 percent of white college graduates were unemployed, 13.8 percent of Latino graduates, and a dismal 19 percent of black graduates.
Those bright, shiny new degrees simply aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on all too often. The cost of a college degree is up some 3,400 percent since 1972, but as we all know too well, household incomes haven’t increased by anything close to that number — not for the bottom 99 percent of us, anyway.
Pell Grants for students have shrunk drastically in relation to the ballooning cost of a four-year college, and Paul Ryan wants to cut them even more, pushing some 1.4 million students into loans, more of which come each year from private lenders with little to no accountability.
New legislation, introduced last week in the House and Senate, would attempt to put a bit of control on those private lenders, restoring the bankruptcy rules so that private student loans may be discharged through bankruptcy. Currently, private as well as government-issued and guaranteed loans will stick with you even through bankruptcy proceedings, saddling far too many graduates with debt for life.