It's well known by now that you can spend outrageous sums to get a college degree only to find yourself jobless, through no real fault of your own. But it's also well known that college degrees are a decent bet, statistically speaking. I guess what the latest report is saying is: We ain't promising you the moon, okay?
Yes, college degrees are worth it, but they're no guarantee you won't wind up screwed. They just lessen your chances of winding up totally screwed. A new study out of Georgetown University is the latest to reconfirm this. Yes, you're mired in student debt and underemployed; but look on the bright side.
The unemployment rate for all four-year college graduates is 4.5 percent, but the unemployment rate for recent four-year college graduates is more than 50 percent higher at 6.8 percent.1 At the same time, unemployment rates for recent high school graduates are near 24 percent...
The underemployment rate for four-year college graduates is currently (May 2012) at 8.4 percent, but the underemployment rate for high school graduates is more than twice that at 17.3 percent.
And on and on. College grads fared better during the recession, earn more, and are qualified for many more newly created jobs than those without college degrees are. Sure, you went $80K in debt obtaining an international relations degree from Oberlin in order to land a job as a barista, but look at it like this: without that degree, you wouldn't have even been able to get that barista job. Could be worse! And when the economy finally turns around, you can found some shitty internet company like every other jerk—with a college degree. This is America, after all.
None of this should be interpreted as approval of going to law school.