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Do Colleges Have Guilty Conscience?

guilty lookIf you are a college graduate in the US, you might fear two things. The first one is unemployment, and the other one is a student loan debt. The tuition cost is too high for some to deal with, and the chances to get a job that will compensate the education expenses are not that big.

Take Steve Jobs for example. The founder of Apple didn’t finish Reed College because his adoptive parents did not have the means to pay the tuition cost. He dropped out in his sophomore year to start working. He managed to succeed with no college degree.

Examples like this are extremely rare. If you’ve decided you don’t need it, then you ought to really know what you are going to do in life (and have a mind of a visionair). For most young people, a college degree is a gateway to better employment opportunities. But it is not so simple to gain it.

Since the end of the 1970s, the tuition costs increased by more than 1,000%. With no money on hand, young people take loans. But here is the problem: the total US student loan debt is $1.2 trillion, and the average US graduate owes banks around $30,000. And that’s not all. There are 17 million underemployed college graduates whose income is not enough to pay the loan debt. This is often called the “college bubble.”

Whose fault is it? Is it the government with too little regulation in the educational area, or is it colleges that demand too much money for their undergraduate and graduate programs? With high tuition costs, there should be some guarantees of employment. Isn’t that what colleges are responsible for?

So, let’s see how colleges help students to solve the problem. They offer students job placement assistance or career services. There are departments at every college or university that provide employment help to those who need it, including consultation services and assistance in obtaining recommendations and references. Still, it is often questionable whether this helps in real world or not. Colleges have had these services for a long time, but the underemployment rate among the graduates is still high.

However, Brooklyn Law School has come up with another solution. It is among the pioneers that are willing to refund a part of the tuition sum for students who cannot find employment. They are giving back 15% of the tuition cost to graduates who meet the following criteria:

  • they have used college’s career services;
  • they have been unemployed for at least 9 months after graduating;
  • they plan on taking the bar exam.

So, if the tuition cost is $130,000 (the highest sum), Brooklyn Law School will return $19,000 to its unemployed graduates.

The program called “Bridge to Success” launches in the 2015/2016 academic year. The school representatives agree that the main purpose of their college is further employment of its students. If the university cannot ensure this, then it’s their responsibility to provide at least some compensation.

The Law School has managed to draw a lot of attention from people interested in education and the “college bubble” problem in the US. It’s true that their 15% compensation is rather small. However, it is a good sign that the higher education institutions are starting to take responsibility for their graduates. If other colleges follow Brooklyn Law School, the average student’s quality of life will improve and the loan bubble crisis might be successfully avoided.

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