Guaranteed Work? Chance of Employment Upon College Graduation

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Guaranteed Work? Chance of Employment Upon College Graduation

With the rising cost of college and a troubled employment picture, many may question the prospect of spending several years and thousands of dollars to earn a degree. Does a college degree increase the chances of post-graduation employment?

Still a Popular Option

Despite a slight dip in 2013, undergraduate enrollment in post-secondary, degree-granting institutions of higher learning has steadily increased since 1990.

Fall enrollment and projected enrollment in post-secondary, degree-granting institutions (1)

2010: 18,082,427

2011: 18,077,303

2012: 17,732,431

2013: 17,474,835

*2014: 17,322,000

*2015: 17,280,000

*2016: 17,472,000

*2017: 17,823,000

*2018: 18,156,000

*2019: 18,404,000

*2020: 18,591,000

*2021: 18,843,000

*2022: 19,119,000

*2023: 19,423,000

*2024: 19,640,000

* Projected

Rising Costs

For many, the question of whether a college degree is worth pursuing boils down to overall cost of education and post-graduate earning potential.

Average total tuition, fees, and room and board cost for full-time undergraduate students at 4-year institutions (1)

1982–83: $10,385

1992–93: $14,217

2001–02: $17,708

2002–03: $18,344

2003–04: $19,276

2004–05: $19,925

2005–06: $20,289

2006–07: $20,934

2007–08: $21,160

2008–09: $21,996

2009–10: $22,515

2010–11: $23,118

2011–12: $23,409

2012–13: $23,872

Field Work

Graduating with a degree from an institution of higher learning is one thing. Finding a job in your chosen field of study is another. A recent study found that while most can find employment, a job specifically related to their major is not as easy to obtain.

2014 college graduates (four-year and associate degrees) (2)

Employed: 65%

In internships: 4%

Unemployed: 31%

Status of employed 2014 college graduates (four-year and associate degrees) (2)

36%: full-time, permanent positions

17%: part-time, permanent positions

12%: temporary/contract positions

4%: internships

Actual job vs. field of study (3)

Science/engineering

60%: Very closely related

18%: Somewhat closely related

6%: Not very closely related

15%: Not at all related

Social science/liberal arts/education

43%: Very closely related

17%: Somewhat closely related

12% – Not very closely related

28%: Not at all related

Business

43%: Very closely related

29%: Somewhat closely related

15%: Not very closely related

12%: Not at all related

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Sources:
1. http://nces.ed.gov
2. http://www.careerbuilder.com
3. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org