Wednesday, June 9, 2010

News We Already Know: College Degrees Fail to Lift Low Income Youth Out of Poverty

You can also add JD, MA, MS, PhD, and LLM along to the long list of degrees that will not lift you out of poverty. So much for the brainwashing from teachers and family my entire life that I could achieve anything with a college education. A study from the Institute of Higher Education Policy shows that an increasing number of low-income youth are pursuing higher education, but remain poor (Hi CLEO Pre-Law Institute for minorities *waves*).

Increasing proportions of low-income young adults are pursuing higher education, but some remain poor even with a postsecondary degree, according to a new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

In 2008, among Americans ages 18 to 26 whose total household income was near or below the federal poverty level, 47 percent were or had been enrolled in college, compared with 42 percent in 2000. Eleven percent of them had earned a degree, a proportion roughly equivalent to that eight years ago, according to the report, which is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

The institute is a nonprofit group in Washington that conducts public-policy research to encourage access and success in higher education.

In introducing its report, the group called into question President Obama's declaration in his State of the Union address in January that "the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education." Poor students go to college academically unprepared, the report says, and, amid competing family and work obligations, they accumulate debt "that could have been avoided by pursuing a different type of degree or a credential."

None of the 11 percent of low-income graduates should remain in poverty, said Gregory S. Kienzl, director of research and evaluation at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. "If you have a degree, you should no longer be poor," he said.

Across all racial and ethnic groups, greater proportions of low-income young adults were or had been enrolled in college in 2008, compared with 2000. Hispanic students showed the largest percentage-point increase, to 37 percent from 29 percent. Low-income Asian and Pacific Islander and white students enrolled at the highest rates in 2008, 62 percent and 51 percent, respectively; the greatest proportions of low-income degree holders were also from those groups.

The report, "A Portrait of Low-Income Young Adults in Education," is the first in a series financed in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The next report will focus on attendance and enrollment patterns among low-income students, Mr. Kienzl said, including that black and Hispanic women more often attend for-profit institutions than public four-year colleges.

The article also leaves out the little inconvenience of having thousands in student loans to pay back, especially for children from poor and low-income families who have no way of helping them pay off those loans. As someone from a working class neighborhood, I can say from firsthand experience how heartbreaking it is for families who invest the time and money to make sure their children are the first in the family to attend college, only to see their children come home with no job and thousands in debt. The higher education system has become a Ponzi Scheme and the people who are responsible for perpetuating the higher education scam and charging hundreds of thousands for useless degrees should be forced to testify before Congress for their crimes.

College and graduate school have only become more accessible because of worthless for-profit scams and lower tier schools. This is far from the world class education for the poor President Obama talks about in his speeches, and he knows that too. It sure sounds nice to say in theory that the United States gives everyone the opportunity to pull themselves up by their bootstraps with a college education. It kind of takes off any blame on the elites for draining the public coffers of billions and instead places it squarely on us powerless unemployed and underemployed citizens for whining too much about our plight. No one talks about the business of selling worthless degrees and a really poor education system at its core. Our public schools are falling apart and some of the teaching at colleges and graduate schools are really bad because the professors are paid not to teach but to publish academic papers. Not only do you waste money on the worthless degree, but you really don't get a good education either. Has anyone graduated from law school prepared to practice law? There's also that little problem of not having enough jobs being created to put 24 million Americans to work.

We at BIDER and other scam bloggers have said this again and again. College and graduate school have ALWAYS benefited the rich who had the money and connections to get the best private school education and admittance into the Ivy League. If they were dumb rich kids, they still had a job guaranteed with the family business or through a business associate. At every level of education since high school, most of the people I know who turn out to be "successful" or at least employed at a well-paying or prestigious job have done so because of their family wealth and connections. The truth is that the degree alone has never helped the majority of people who didn't graduate from top schools at the top of their class. Even a degree from a high ranked school gets you nowhere without connections, unless you are extremely resourceful and lucky.


  1. The education-industrial complex must be taken down and rendered obscure for eternity.

    Parents who can help and direct their children in the training of character and the direction they should take in accordance with their child's state of life is far more beneficial than some worthless humanities degree.

  2. That thing you mentioned about having the lenders testify before Congress for their crimes; JEEZ would I LOVE to see that. You're absolutely right about the worthlessness of degrees. Obama is only adding to a very serious national problem by pushing "college" as a solution to poverty. College isn't free, and that BS about "good debt" should never be uttered again. Student loan debt perpetuates poverty.

    I'd love to hear BO say "if you're not "connected," college may not be for you. You will incur debt that will follow you to the grave. That degree WILL NOT HELP you escape poverty. It's criminal how people are goaded toward "education" as a way out of poverty when in fact for most people, the opposite is true. They remain poor, college degree and all." Let's hear him, or ANYONE who has the public's ear say something like that.

    When I read that Wal-Mart is offering college degrees ($24k for a bachelors) to it's employees, it made me very sad. Average pay is $11.75 per hr. Do the math. WM should be stopped or fined or something...they shouldn't be able to get away with that. Are they opening exec jobs to these "graduates?" Hell no...just depositing the defaulted student loan $$ they divvy up with SM.

    Our congressman (Allen Boyd) got $17k from SM for his campaign. The SM lobbyist in D.C. own the politicians. That's the SHI^Y#& that burns me up. Glad I found this site. I'm packing up real soon.



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