Recessions hit people hard but college graduates hurt less according to the latest research from Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. The report, "How Much Protection Does a College Degree Afford? The Impact of the Recession on Recent College Graduates" was posted on The Pew Charitable Trusts website on January 10, 2013. It shows the more vulnerable Americans during an economic downturn are those with only a high school degree. College prep can help high school students achieve their college dreams and protect their future.
“Higher education is one of the key factors driving upward mobility in the United States,” said Diana Elliott, research manager of Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. “Even under the pressures of the most recent economic downturn, a four-year college degree provided protection in the labor market for recent college graduates.” The report shows four-year college degree holders fared better from unemployment, low-skill jobs and lesser wages than those with high school or 2-year college degrees.
Rising college costs, increasing college debt and high unemployment rates from the Great Recession have some questioning the value of a college diploma. Pew’s findings show a bachelor's degree is valuable during tough economic times. College prep can help students choose the best college for them to attend.
Research for "How Much Protection Does A College Degree Afford?" was conducted by David B. Grusky, Beth Red Bird, Natassia Rodriguez, and Christopher Wimer of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. The Pew Charitable Trusts is a nonprofit organization.
The report, using government data from the 2003–2011 Current Population Survey for 21 through 24 year olds found the following:
- Although all 21–24 year olds experienced declines in employment and wages during the recession, the decline was worse for those with only high school or associate degrees.
- The comparatively high employment rate of recent college graduates was not driven by a sharp increase in those settling for lesser jobs or lower wages.
- The share of non-working graduates seeking further education did not change markedly during the recession.
- Out-of-work college graduates were better able to find jobs during the downturn than their less-educated peers.
Past research from Pew’s Economic Mobility Project has shown:
- A college education promotes upward mobility and prevents downward mobility.
- The chances are three times greater for someone with a college degree than for someone without one of moving from the bottom of the family income ladder to the top.
- College graduates have been able to count on much higher earnings and lower unemployment rates than those without a college degree.
The recession affected the market position of college grads much less than high school and associate degree-holders. College prep can help the college-bound have a successful college experience. The key is selecting "right fit" schools with best chance of graduating in four years or less, knowing their college costs and how to pay them.
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