The Real Way to Avoid a Student Loan Debt Crisis
The recent recession forced many people out of jobs and back to the classroom to learn new skills. As a result, we now have an impending student loan debt crisis. Current reports show that U.S. student loan debt is surging above one trillion dollars, surpassing credit card and auto loan debt. Additionally, the majority (80 percent) of student loans are government-guaranteed, with 30 percent of these government-backed loans past due 30 days or more. That means the taxpayers are on the hook should the loans default.
But the real problem is not the student loan debt itself. Rather, the real problem is that even with their shiny new degrees, graduates (both young and old) are not finding jobs. What’s the solution?
First, we have to retrain the high school and college counselors who give students advice about which major and career to pursue. Students aren’t getting jobs when they graduate; yet, there is a great need in the U.S. right now in the areas of science, math, and engineering, as well as in areas that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, such as fiber installers, electricians, and mechanics.
Too many counselors aren’t helping students see the path to employment based on the degree they’re picking. Instead they tell students to “follow your interests and passion” and pick a major based on that. How about giving students a three column list that shows the path to employment based on various majors. The list can show the jobs you can get with a two-year technical degree, such as machinist and electrician; jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree only, like teacher, accountant, or engineer; and the jobs you need a masters degree or higher to get work, such as psychologist or sociologist. If more students knew that their chosen major requires an advanced degree to find employment, chances are high that they’d choose a different major.Continued on the next page