And Now, The Ugly Side Of A College Education

Tyler Durden's picture

Yesterday we showed the good side of college by presenting those majors that result in the best starting salaries fresh out of college. Now the bad side.

According to a survey by Accenture, more than 40% of recent US college graduates are "disillusioned", "underemployed" or "need more training" to get on a career track. But... what about those tends of thousands in student loans, or at least the remainder that was not spent on Apple products? Turns out the marginal utility of a college education is dropping as fast as the total notional in Federal student loans is rising. What is most ironic, is that according to the survey, many of the respondents end up at jobs that do not even require a college degree.  Of the respondents, 34% said they owed $30,000 or less, while 17% had between $30,000 and $50,000 in student loans.

So what is the solution: why more degrees of course!

Nearly half, 42 percent, of recent graduates expect they will need an advanced degree to further their career and almost a quarter are already planning to take graduate courses. More degrees, more debt, more dead end opportunities for a generation that is stuck in place not because it is underqualified, but because of barriers to entry erected by those already in the workforce, especially those aged 55 and over who courtesy of Bernanke's ZIRP4EVA can't afford to retire, and who as the following chart shows are employed more now than ever. The losers: those aged 20-24 whose employment level has not budged in the past four decades despite a demographic boom that puts millions more into precisely this age cohort with every passing year. Where are those who are not in the labor force (and not playing Call of Duty)? Why in college of course.

More from Reuters:

"For our nation's youngest workers, as well as for the workforce at large, there is a real need for employers to reexamine how they hire, train and develop their employees," said Katherine Lavelle, of the global management consulting firm Accenture, which conducted the survey.


More than half of graduates said it was difficult finding a job, but 39 percent were employed by the time they left college. Sixty eight percent said they are working full time, while 16 percent are in part-time positions.


The top industries that graduates wanted to work in were education, media and entertainment and healthcare.


Just over half, 53 percent, of graduates found full-time jobs in their field of study.


In addition to being underemployed many graduates thought they would have done better in the job market if they had studied a different major, and more than half also intended to go back to school within the next five years.

The biggest disappointment: the difference between perceptions about wage potential and reality.

The survey uncovered a gap between what students expect to earn in their first job and their actual salary. Only 15 percent of this year's graduates think they will earn less than $25,000 but a third of recent graduates said they make that amount or less.

Will any of this change the sad reality where even the hope of a lucrative future for most involves drowning in debt? Of course not. After all in the new normal, "money dilution is prosperity" and "debt is wealth." If this is the case for sovereign nations and corporations, why not for the individual as well. Because it is not as if anyone expects any of the record outstanding debt to ever be repaid.

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Ahmeexnal's picture


Why get a job if you can just buy AAPL and become rich?

Groundhog Day's picture

Join the armed forces for debt forgiveness and the oppurtunity to rid the syrian terrorists of chemical weapons......Forward

We know where the WMD are, they are north, south east or west of Tickret....RUMY

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I would have enjoyed seeing the lowest paying majors vs. yesterday's highest paying...

Pool Shark's picture




Old age and treachery beats youth and skill every time...



Manthong's picture

the real ugly thing is that almost none of these jewels of modern enlightenment understand and appreciate the concepts of the invisible hand or the division of labor

James_Cole's picture

The real ugly side of college ed is not having even a basic degree:

Unemployment rates:

Bachelor's and higher: 3.8%

Less than high school: 11.2%

High school: 7.9%

DaveyJones's picture

the ugly side of my college education

ended with my divorce

at least, with that, I got to experience the costs of a current student

Silver Bully's picture

'The real ugly side of college ed is not having even a basic degree:'

Wait, what? So are you saying the reason a person should go to college is to reduce their chances of being unemployed?

See, stupid me thought it was the reverse - you go to college to INCREASE your chances of being employed, and to INCREASE your potential salary level.

Too bad the student loan industry is in a bubble. You'd end up doing better financially by living in your parent's basement, with no debt, and either collecting minimum wage or welfare. Life's a bitch if you need to go to school these days, huh?


James_Cole's picture

Wait, what? So are you saying the reason a person should go to college is to reduce their chances of being unemployed?

See, stupid me thought it was the reverse - you go to college to INCREASE your chances of being employed

Forward! Back to college for you!

tango's picture

The purpose of college is not to "get a job".   College serves the same purpose as the military - you grow up.  You learn time management, self-discipline, organization, structure and the consequences of procrastination.  These aspects of a degree are much more beneficial than any technical jargon (outside of the hard sciences).  College days should be fun - you are the freest (and perhaps happiest) you'll ever be.  "Book knowledge" is only one aspect of the "college experience."   Unfortunately I had to work during school so the "fun" aspect was not so prominent. 

Harbanger's picture

"Just Buy The Fucking Diploma"


You can't buy a diploma from the school of experience.  Work for the man with wisdom and knowledge, work for free until you can prove your worth, that's how you'll learn something of value.

Cheesy Bastard's picture

+1.  I agree 100%.  I'm sure as the new normal progresses, apprenticeships will have a resurgence in popularity.

ThorsteinVeblen's picture

Then logically, African Americans stopped learning anything of value in 1865. Also, by 1938 the minimum wage must have put a hault to learning anything of value for another generation and today, half of Americans are still just surving. Should we call the one who employs somebody for free a knowledgeable wise man or, something else? Has Ayn Rand fiction been repeated enough now to morph variations of it into truisms? If you could just get back to that fictional day when America was sweaty and greatful.

Harbanger's picture

You lost me after "then logically" and the race baiting.  Your trustfund days will be coming to an end Mr thornstein, that's a fact.  What will become of you? I know I don't deliver justice.  But I know justice will be served.

ThorsteinVeblen's picture

Organized skilled labor has true apprenticeship programs but, they are in decline. The post implied that trading labor for an education is a good thing. It is a good concept that has always been used by organized labor (fewer education tax dollars plus a sustaining wage). One would hope that they didn't mean "work for free" as slaves or surfs. America did well for non-college citizens when a higher number of Americans were organized. At one time, education was a passport to privilege and now, just mostly for the elite schools' students. 

Note the chart. Most all charts are llike this one: divergences from good occur around the time of Reagan and his Rand following young republicans.


bluskyes's picture

Do you have any real-world work experience, or are you an academic?

Raymond K Hessel's picture

When people think they're in a capitalist society it makes me giggle.

We live in a fascist society.  Look up Mussolini and his ideas on CORPORATISM. 


Oldwood's picture

The markets are killing occupations for anyone who makes things, as that work has been replaced with cheap imports or cheap illegal labor. Trades used to train within, passing down skills from generation to generation, but many of those jobs simply left. the ones that remain are dominated by immigrants, many of which have entered the job market with little or no training, and those qualities show. Unions attempted to play a role in training but unfornuately most have been more interested in keeping existing positions, for as we know, trade classifications are religiously preserved. A janitor dare not pick up a tool and help or he will be prompty acosted.  Education is simply another industry that, because of government backed lending, has prospered in a bubble and just like with housing will have its day. As we have insisted on buying the cheap imports and low bid illegal labor, we have been directly responsible for eliminating our jobs. Ultimately the only jobs that will exist will be government employment. The rest of us will be working for sure but not in anything we would traditionally think of as a job. More like public service penalties, picking up trash on the side of the road...for food stamps.

troublesum's picture


To bad kids now a days think working for free is backwards approach... I was working tech support (I do have a fairly decent technical background) making crap wages (the industry fell out from under me in 2009 and had to take a lower job than what i was skilled for). But the new company I worked for had a small develpment team. I started programing at home as a hobby becuase it looked intersting and I knew it paid better. Got just good enough that I could do some small things for the company and asked if they would let me code some stuff for them on my down time (do software devopment for free). They agreed and as time went on they started tasking me during my regular schedule to do these things (still getting paid crap but learing on the job)... 2 years of that (now a fairly decent developer) and I went to ask them for a raise. They said no (go figure).. I found a new job in a month as an intermediate webdeveloper at what is considered a decent starting salary for the industry. 2 years of getting paid crap for the knowledge I gained will reward me for th rest of my life... too bad kids just don't think this way any more.

bluskyes's picture

Did you get offered a raise when you told them you were quitting?

Jendrzejczyk's picture

Just don't buy a fucking laptop with windows 8. Freaking fucking annoying ass bullshit; it's not a god damned finger-swiping mother/Father phone OS we want.


(Was that out loud?)

NotApplicable's picture

Well, Ubuntu did the same stupid shit.

Apparently, the future is a data consuming device, as they are all too retarded to work as a text input device.

And no, I'm not going to talk to a fucking computer.

Curiously_Crazy's picture

I've been cained for saying this ever since Ubuntu first came out, but as a Linux distro it's always been utter garbage. Being owned by a corporation they now include tracking software in it as well (whodathunkit). What they took advantage of was a massive marketing drive at first release (they sent out free CD's to anyone that wanted it.. even paying for international postage themselves) so the barrier of entry was way low since a lot of people back then downloaded the ISO's of distos and burned then installed themselves (finding distro in computer stores was far and few between).

If anyone wants to take advantage of Ubuntu repos, which are very extensive and pretty damn good, then go for something like Mint Linux or - and not sure if this one is still around but it used to be good for a new user - Mepis.

Personally I use Zen; smooth, fast, efficient. Though I've still got the ol Gentoo box that's been powering along for over 8 years and hasn't missed a beat.

ExpendableOne's picture

Windows 8 works great on a laptop.  Just learn the key stroke shortcuts and skip the useless start screen.  Download classic start menu (free) if you want the old style start menu.  This was created on an old Lenovo Z61 (with an ssd upgrade and Windows 8 Pro)

mick_richfield's picture

Or -- better yet!

Download Fedora and, during the install, tell it to "Use the Whole Disk".

Curiously_Crazy's picture

heh, yeah Fedora aint half bad. But instead of KDE vs Gnome or vi vs emacs, it's a case of .rpm vs .deb!  Been on the .deb side for the last decade :)

Slightly Insane's picture

What do you expect from a Teaching Staff - steeped in Marxist bullshit, with a side dish of tenure?  Fewer then 10% of college professors can get a job outside of Government .... ever wonder why?

RaceToTheBottom's picture

If they were all enrolled in engineering classes and had the prep to achieve, then we could close the H1B door and rebuild the middle class.

But noooooo, we would rather blather about selling sex taps and reality TV and terminators divorce problems.....  We suck, and deserve what we are going to get.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Old age and treachery beats youth and skill every time...


The hopelessly indebted and unemployed graduate; "I'm done. Everything stops. Get someone else to run your scams."

The ponzi-master Baby Boomers; " Nothing stops. Nothing... or you will do the hardest time there is. No more protection from the guards. I'll pull you out of that one-bunk Hilton and cast you down with the Sodomites. You'll think you've been fucked by a train! And the library? Gone... sealed off, brick-by-brick. We'll have us a little book barbecue in the yard. They'll see the flames for miles. We'll dance around it like wild Injuns! You understand me? Catching my drift?... Or am I being obtuse?"

Almost Solvent's picture

The Ponzi predates the Boomers. The son becomes the father, and all that jazz.

DaveyJones's picture

literally and figuratively

espirit's picture

You mean I'm not going to get rich with a Urban and Regional Planning degree that specializes in eCONomic Development?

Another 4 years wasted.

Manthong's picture

interesting perspective..   urban planning…  is that anything like instituting freedom through slavery?

xtop23's picture

Unless you're in Detroit. Then it's a bit more like sensitivity of touch through amputation.

TuesdayBen's picture

Screw college and debt. Lead others into debt.

Become a Realtor.

List. Sell. List. Sell. List. Sell.
On the side, Flip, Flip, Flip
Work out unseemly arrangements with your title/escrow/settlement/mortgage 'preferred partners'.
Cheer the actions of the FRB
Drive a Mercedes by 20
Part of a cheery husband and wife broker tandem by 30
Nasty divorce by 40
Stop planting signs by 50
Live off rental income.
Waste away in Margaritaville...

11b40's picture

That's just so last decade.

mick_richfield's picture

Can't I just start with the Margaritaville part?

RafterManFMJ's picture

Urban planning in Detoilet should liberally employ artillery and Daisy Cutters.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Thanks, HoofH!  I note that my niece (drama major) may not have great prospects...

NotApplicable's picture

My jaw always drops when I encounter someone going into debt to learn how to pretend to be other people.

And for what? A chance at being in Scary Movie 25?

The Heart's picture

"And for what? A chance at being in Scary Movie 25?"

Exactly NA! Scary movie drill number 25 coming to a local city or town near you soon. All you have to do is sign the actior waiver form and have the instructions to go along.

Actor Information Sheet:

The Actor Information Sheet should be distributed to actors before the exercise and should accompany the Actor Waiver Form. This information sheet is provided as an example only and should be modified to suit the jurisdiction’s needs as well as the exercise scope, type, and scenario. For example, if decontamination will not be part of the exercise, actors do not need to be instructed to wear bathing suits.

Please read and understand the following points; they will ensure that your participation in this exercise will be safe and enjoyable. If you have any questions, please contact [Actor POC].

  1. The day will be long and tiring.

You need to be at the site by [time], and you will probably not finish until after [time]. If you have any health concerns or medical conditions, please tell [Actor POC] before the start of the exercise. Health or medical concerns will not necessarily disqualify you from participating.

  1. You must be at least 18 years old and sign a waiver to participate.

If you are not 18 and are not in the military, parental permission is required to participate. The waiver form (included) must be turned in before the exercise to [Actor POC].

  1. Eat a good breakfast before arrival.

It is your responsibility to eat a well-balanced meal before arriving at the exercise, [just in case you miss some of the food provided.]

[Exercise officials are planning a snack and limited beverages before the exercise. Volunteers transported to hospitals will be given a snack before being returned to the exercise site. Volunteers who do not leave the exercise site will be released before lunch.]

  1. Transport yourself to and from the exercise site.

You are responsible to transport yourself to [exercise location]. A map is attached for your convenience. If you carpool with another volunteer, there is no guarantee that you will be returned to the exercise site at the same time.

  1. Be on time!

Please do not arrive late. It is difficult to begin the exercise if actors are not in place.

You will most likely be released by [time]. However, you may finish earlier or later. Volunteers transported to hospitals will be returned to the exercise site.

  1. Wear layers of old clothes and a bathing suit.

Wear clothes that can be removed and a bathing suit underneath. Wear clothes that you do not mind getting wet, dirty, stained, or torn. You will get wet.

  1. There will be no place to keep personal belongings.


Actor Waiver Form:


On behalf of [Jurisdiction], we thank you for volunteering to be a simulated casualty for our preparedness exercise. The event is scheduled for [date]. Actors should report to [location] at [time].

Exercise Overview

You will be participating as a mock victim of a [scenario]. You will be triaged and either directed or taken to an area where appropriate decontamination will occur, potentially including cutting of your clothing. You will be washed and reclothed. Alternative garments will be provided. Please wear a bathing suit, shorts, and T-shirt, and bring a change of clothes and towel. We would appreciate your wearing loose-fitting and easily removable shoes. It is recommended that you do not wear jewelry. Jewelry and personal items will be removed during the decontamination process, bagged, and given to you to carry as you go through the decontamination line.

Before the event, you will be given a complete orientation to the incident site, the type of injury or symptoms you should simulate, and what actions are expected of you.

Please eat a meal and drink plenty of liquids before you come. After the event, food and refreshments will be available for you. Restrooms also will be available for your convenience.

Please Print Name, Sign, and Date

I, _______________________________________, agree to participate in the [sponsor name]-sponsored exercise on [conduct date]. I agree to go through the decontamination process. I will hold harmless [Jurisdiction] and any other agency or its members participating in this exercise. I understand that all reasonable and customary safety measures will be performed to try to prevent injury or harm to me.


And don't forget your make up kit info:



Exercise Guidance

Moulage Kit Information

Moulage is makeup applied to victim actors to add realism to an exercise. It may include fake blood, plastic bones, and any other makeup that helps a victim actor realistically portray the signs and symptoms on his or her symptomology card. Although not re­quired, moulage is encouraged at all operations-based exercises.

The moulage staff—commonly composed of volunteers from local school drama clubs, community theaters, and mortuaries—applies the makeup to the victim actors. Moulage makeup kits and manuals can be purchased from various sources for “do-it-yourself” volunteer efforts. However, businesses specializing in moulage do exist and boast professional moulage artists and materials. These types of moulage businesses are often employed for full-scale exercises.

Common moulage kit components include:

  • Makeup (various colors)

  • Cotton balls

  • Sterile gauze pads

  • Glycerin

  • Palette knife

  • Brushes (various types)

  • Tongue depressors

  • Sponges (stipple, gauze, makeup)

  • Mixing palette

  • Effects gels (blood, clear, flesh colored)

  • Effects gel applicator

  • Stage blood (premixed and powder mixes)

  • Scissors

  • Utility knife

  • Plastic wrap

  • Liquid starch

  • Pocket comb

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Liquid adhesive and adhesive remover

  • Empty mixing bottles

  • Flesh putty (various colors)

  • Prosthetics (various injuries such as blisters, burnt skin, bone fractures, open wounds)

Yohimbo's picture

We will all get rich from crisis acting!

ForTheWorld's picture

My mind keeps trying to read HSEEP as SHEEP. It probably all boils down to the same thing anyway.

Abraxas's picture

To help out these poor young souls the government will set up some nice labor camps... and not just for the young.

Al Gorerhythm's picture

I was wondering what this place would look like when the trend reverts to the mean.

Aeternus's picture

APPL is hip, if you don't own APPL, your square, ya dig?