Here’s the harsh reality: Half of those who graduated college from 2006 to 2011 don’t have full-time jobs and are struggling under the weight of their student loans. And the average student owes $20,000.
“You’re looking at that much debt, and very little in the way of job prospects,” said Cliff Zuckin, one of the authors of a study released Thursday by Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. “It’s going to be a strain on a lot of people for a long time.”
Despite these figures, hope sprang eternal following Temple’s graduation ceremony.
Shameka Campbell posed for pictures on North Broad Street with her parents by her side.
“A load has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I’m on top of the world right now,” she said.
Nikeeya Jenaba Alexander of New York expressed what seemed to be the dominant feeling of the day — youthful confidence.
“I have a bachelor’s of science in nursing — what!” she said.
Does she think she will get a job?
“Yeah, I’m gonna get a job,” she said. “I got loans out my behind, I better get a job,”
Kevin Yorke studied journalism at Temple. At least for the time being, he was happy to keep his focus on the accomplishment at hand.
“Everyone’s saying all this stuff about the economy but, I mean it’s just an exciting time,” said Yorke of Newtown, Pa.
And as far as his job prospects he added, “If it doesn’t happen right away, I can always go to several odd jobs. I’m not too good for that at all.”
Yorke was half joking, but Zuckin says that a quarter of graduates end up settling for jobs that they’re either not enthusiastic about or are overqualified for.
“The notion in America was that if you graduated college you would be set for life — education was the key, and now it doesn’t guarantee you that whatsoever,” said Zuckin.
Bucks County’s Eugene Tsvilik was a history major. He knows the answer more and more kids are turning to.
“The solution is to go to grad school, and to not enter the real world quite yet,” he said.