It may not matter how many more college graduates the United States churns out, many of them will be unable to get well-paying jobs. The math simply does not work out, according to Richard Vedder.
… one-third is a larger number than one-fifth. Roughly a third of adults have four-year degrees, but only one-fifth of jobs are in the relatively high-paying fields. That is why we have a small army (115,000) of janitors with bachelor degrees. Rather than adding two million more enrollees at community colleges (as President Obama advocated in the first presidential debate), maybe we should have two million fewer Pell Grants or student loans in order to help, in the long run, to restore balance between supply and demand for college graduates in high- paying fields.
It may sound distasteful to hear someone promote a public policy position that supports less education for low-income students. On the other hand, encouraging young people who are at high risk for dropping out to take on burdensome debt may actually be the less charitable action in this case. Even awarding grants to students unlikely to graduate from college may turn out to be more cruel than kind if the next generation will have to deal with the painful deficit generated by this generosity. It’s a dilemma.