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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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College degrees just aren?t what they used to be

By Jonathan Deesing

This year, the U produced more than 7,000 graduates. Nearly 5,000 bachelor’s degrees were awarded, with the rest going to post-graduates. Most of these students will now be looking toward their futures with careers in mind, hopefully ones that will suit them for the rest of their professional lives. Unfortunately, this might not be the case for many graduates.

Indeed, this summer will likely surprise thousands of students as they find that their degrees are worth much less in the professional world than they had previously believed.

In high school, I was informed that a college degree was a one-way ticket to success. Since then, I have learned that this is not always true. With the rising cost of college tuition, a four-year degree has become a less lucrative investment than it was even 10 years ago.

Numerous factors contribute to this. For example, the economy is facing a downturn. Employers are cutting back wherever they can, eliminating precious jobs. The globalization of many careers means outsourcing of the jobs once given to American college graduates. Furthermore, the increasing availability of college degrees makes graduates a less valuable commodity to employers. Employers are often looking for qualifications that cannot be taught in a classroom, such as international or other extracurricular experience.

Nevertheless, college graduates have placed themselves in a position much more tenable than those with less than a college education. The U.S. Department of Labor released data that showed that in 2008, those with bachelor’s degrees faced an unemployment rate of 2.8 percent as compared to high school graduates, who face a rate of 5.7 percent. College graduates also have the option of attending graduate school, which generally means a higher-paying career.

However, as all of us approach graduation, we must realize that as college graduates, we can no longer write our own ticket. Graduating from college, though a major milestone, isn’t quite the achievement it once was.
Is this right? No.

Colleges and universities such as the U need to realize that with the economy in a downturn and with college degrees losing value, increasing tuition and fees is not a reasonable idea. Graduates are having enough problems finding a livelihood after college without egregiously high student loans to pay back as well. Yet year after year, the Utah State Board of Regents votes on more fee increases, as if to make a college degree just a little bit harder to obtain, if only monetarily.

However, we can’t blame everything on the economy and high tuition and student fees. Plan for your future, and plan what you want to do well before you graduate. Study abroad, get an internship in Washington, D.C., or do something that will look impressive on a résumé. If you don’t, you might find your degree hanging right next to the one from Hamburger University.

[email protected]

Jonathan Deesing

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