Host: Walk into a local 1)eatery or retail store and you may find some 2)debt-ridden college graduates behind the counter riding out the recession with minimum wage paychecks. There’s one thing that’s clear about this recession: a college education does not guarantee a high paying job. So is it really worth it to go to college during an economic downturn?
Professor Watkins, let me start me with you. This 3)heretical question: is a high school graduate who is heading to a four-year college right now making an investment or a mistake?
Prof. Boyce Watkins(Syracuse University): Well, it’s certainly an investment. The question is whether or not you get your return on that investment in actual financial capital or some sort of human capital or emotional capital or social capital. The truth of the matter is that this blanket notion that going to college will guarantee you a better economic future is not always true. When you have students who are going to college for economic advancement and they chose majors that don’t fit that particular objective and then take a lot of debt on in the process, then, you know, you have to ask them, “Well, did you plan it all the way through when you ended up with an outcome that you didn’t quite expect?” So I think that going to college is certainly important. But I think that we have to be very intelligent about what we expect to get out of our education.
Host: Professor Vedder, what’s your view? 主持人:维德教授,你的看法是什么?
Prof. Richard Vedder(Ohio University): Well, I agree with most of what the previous speaker said. There are a lot of people who are going to college these days that are unfulfilled at the end of their experience.
Host: What do you mean unfulfilled? 主持人:这个“未能得到满足”你指的是什么?
Prof. Vedder: Forty-five percent of people who go to college, four-year colleges, don’t get a bachelors degree within six years. Those people often have met with disappointment and their investment isn’t particularly good, necessarily. Another group of people graduate from college and then have trouble getting jobs and end up taking jobs for which a college education is not really a 4)prerequisite. Twelve percent of the male carriers in the United States today have college degrees. And I have nothing against male carriers with college degrees, but I don’t think it’s an absolute necessity to have a college degree to deliver the mail.
Host: Professor Vedder, a college debt is a real burden, so are we making a mistake to tell young people to pursue college no matter what?
Prof. Vedder: I think some kids are going to college that probably shouldn’t go to college. While I 5)applaud the principle behind President Obama’s objective of getting everyone some post-secondary education, in reality there are a lot of jobs out there that are being created or that exists that are not jobs that require college education. And the mix between the supply of college graduates and the jobs available is moving increasingly in the direction of having fewer and fewer jobs available that really require a college education in, relative to the number of kids that are available or a number of students that are graduating. We are starting to graduate, I don’t want to say too many students, but it’s becoming more and more difficult for new college graduates to get jobs, independent of the recession.