This is a sequel to an earlier blog. Americans increasingly reject the notion that to be successful in life you have to obtain a college degree. Total enrollment in traditional forms of higher education has declined for the last seven years. Under financial pressure, even highly respected four year colleges are contemplating closing or merging with other institutions, most recently Massachusetts’ Hampshire College. Low college graduation rates, rising tuition fees and stories of crushing student loan debts have led many students to forego traditional postsecondary training.
Moreover, going to college has other risks. The New York Federal Reserve Bank suggests the “underemployment rate” among recent college graduates exceeds 40 percent –two out of every five are in jobs very often filled by those with much less education. For all college graduates, the proportion exceeds one-third. Census data suggest only one out of 150 taxi drivers in 1970 had a bachelor’s degree or more, compared with about 24 by 2010 and no doubt more today. Do you really need a college degree to be a taxi or Uber driver?