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Why a four-year degree is a risky choice in a shaky economy

Empty ClassroomFor many young Americans, starting a four-year degree program may do more harm than good.

Robert B. Schwartz, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, notes that 44 percent of students who enroll in four-year colleges in the U.S. haven’t earned degrees after six years.

As tuition rates soar and student loan debt continues to pile up for individuals and the country, the four-year degree becomes an even riskier choice for Americans in a shaky economy, writes former U.S. secretary of education William J. Bennett for CNN

At the same time, Schwartz also reports that only a third of the 47 million jobs that the country is expected to create by 2018 will require a bachelor’s degree or higher, while 30 percent will instead require an associate’s degree or industry certification. So for many students, even if they are able to earn their degrees, the time and effort spent in a four-year college may result in qualifying for jobs that simply aren’t available or earning qualifications that simply aren’t necessary.

Recently, we wrote about Apple and the future of manufacturing in America. The combination of the industry’s positive outlook in the U.S. and the lack of required lengthy and expensive education could make a future in manufacturing an ideal option for many young Americans looking to start their careers and lives on financially firm footing.

It certainly makes sense on paper:

  • Make more money sooner
  • No wasted time or effort in unrelated academic areas
  • Start career with minimal or no debt
  • Join growing industry

Maybe you know a student or relative interested in joining a strong industry that doesn’t require employees to dig financial holes before they even begin. If so, invite them to complete this brief online career assessment. It’ll certainly take less time than a university lecture.

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