US graduate gamble: high fees, low guarantees

Only one in five of America's college-leavers now land a job, leaving the rest to struggle with deep debt and desperation, according to fresh statistics. The level of unemployment crept back up to over nine per cent in May.

­Recruitment is at its lowest for eight months, which is bad news for those completing college this summer.

America is home to the world’s most expensive and prestigious universities. Yet, paying for them has created a nation where the majority signs on to lifetime payments of loans.

“I’ll probably have $60,000 in student debt,” says Anna Kiefer, a student of New York University.

“Over like $90,000, easy. That makes me terrified,” says Raphael Picciarelli, another student from New York.

Every American graduate is launching onto a dwindling job market saddled with at least $24,000 in student debt.

“Either I am going to land a great job or start a great company, or be seriously in the hole,” says Kairi Willis, a business student of New York University.

According to the economic policy institute, the US economy currently has one job for every five applicants.

Meanwhile, business for bankruptcy attorney Gennady Litvin is surging. Half of his clients are unemployed degree-holders drowning in debt.

“Anyone going to college essentially is gambling. From an investors’ point of view right now – the way the dollar is, inflation is going up, the way the job market is – a college education just is not a good investment and not a good return on your money,” says Gennady Litvin, Debt & Bankruptcy attorney.

Even economics professors, like Richard Wolf, say enslaving students to banks is a disaster for America’s economic viability.

“The future of any country in the world economy these days depends first and foremost on the quality and the quantity of skilled, trained, new, young workers and the major institutions that produce that are the college and universities. You are pricing them out of being able to do that," says Wolf, of New School University.  

Today, a diploma no longer serves as a guaranteed passport to prosperity for Americans. In the meantime, the number of foreigners studying at US colleges and universities has reached record highs. According to the latest statistics, nearly 700,000 international students have flown in from all over the world to study in America.

And the majority are transplanting from America’s economic competitor.

According to the institute of international education, Chinese students studying in the US surged 30 per cent in 2009.

Most foreign families reportedly bypass financial aid and pay full tuition.

Since 1978, the cost of colleges and universities has apparently increased more than 900 per cent, while household income rose just 150 per cent.

“What you’re seeing is American universities, particularly at the elite, are happier to have foreigners who tend to pay their own way because they come from the tops of those societies and they will forgo the Americans who can’t afford it much anyway,” says Wolf.

According to Pew Research Center, 57 per cent of Americans say college is not worth the price.

But with a widening workforce of the untrained and uneducated, many wonder what the US economy will eventually be worth.