Would Charlie Sheen Consider GRADS WINNING!? NOT!

Written by on March 9th, 2011

Class of 2008, 2008, 2009, 20010 and 2011 gets screwed! Charlie will not speak at commencement!

Charlie Sheen’s now very public lifestyle and philosophy is making a lot of people think about their lives. Its obvious Charlie has a very positive attitude about him and has put himself in a category above most mortal men. Charlie is now a self-professed WINNER!

If he were living back in the days of the Greeks, I’m certain he would have convinced them that he was, if not Zeus, at least the son of Zeus!

At any rate, this got me thinking about how college graduates feel about themselves.

Do the members of the Class of 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 feel like they are WINNING?

I still remember the pride I felt about graduating 30 plus years ago. I was a first generation college graduate, had no debt, paid my way through college by working night and odd jobs, started a photography business that I continued to run after graduation and had a couple of professors that I admire to this day. It was a fulfilling and life changing opportunity for me. For me and many in my generation life was good, and the opportunities were many!

But what does a student who is about to graduate feel today? If I were a graduating today, I’m sure my mood and expectations would be affected by the fact that:

  • 80% of the last two graduating classes didn’t have jobs by graduation day
  • Eighty percent moved home after graduation
  • The average grad had over $20,000 in student loans and nearly $5,000 on their credit cards to pay off.
  • 17 million grads (the equivalent of 5 graduation classes) do jobs that only require a high school diploma or less!

So I can hear Charlie ask, “Who is WINNING here? “

Duh, it’s not the graduates!

This generation of graduates will be paying more per month on student loans than many couples paid for rent 30 years ago. They will be buying less after graduation because they will be struggling to pay down their credit card bills and according to research 60% of them will be working in jobs that did not require a college degree.

And it’s worse if they marry. Two graduates with the average student loan and credit card debt, enter a marriage “for better or worse, richer or poorer” with $50,000 in debt!

But wait, it gets worse!

Most colleges have done an excellent job giving the graduate the curriculum to satisfy the requirements of their degree. But what have they done to help them prepare for their career?

Does the typical graduate:

  • Have a good handle on which industries they should be looking to for a job?
  • Know what type of position would best suit their skills and knowledge?
  • Know how to search for a job, how to interview, follow up on a job or even build a career network?

My guess is a lot of graduates will be receiving their diplomas in the next two months filled with angst, anxiety and asking the question, “Now What?”

I have a personal stake in this. My son Ben graduates from Miami University with a degree in businessand marketing. Ben’s done all the right things to get a job. He got involved and became President of the Miami Association of Film Makers, became the photo editor of The Miami Q, did a semester abroad to gain international experience and exposure and will graduate with A’s and B’s in all subjects. But even with those credentials, will Ben walk out of school WINNING or struggling!

What can you do?

We need to do more for this generation.

For a variety of reasons, our generation has implemented numerous policies and rules that are putting them at a disadvantage the day they receive their diploma. They are facing issues that the leaders and administrators of colleges, business, government and other organizations did not face when they graduated from college.

So what can you do to help this generation?

In what way can you help give them hope, provide them an anchor or help them get from under the hurdles they now face, before they even start their career?

There has to be something! Standing by is not acceptable. Our generation has been given a lot. We’ve given to this generation a lot to overcome.

One way we’ve found we can help is by providing 9 Webinars that feature career experts. Our Fall Webinar series had 400 Career Centers sign up.  We are also assembling a GRAD Career Toolkit that will provide graduates, advice from career experts, tools to organize their job search and assessment tests.

Your organization can help by hiring a grad, providing internships or on a personal level, mentor a student.

Share with us other ways we can help this generation of graduates!

When Will Parents and College Students Revolt?

Written by on February 7th, 2011

High cost of college, unemployment, loans, credit card debt – ENOUGH!

Revolutions happen faster than anyone can predict!

Recently, the Obama administration was questioning why the CIA had not provided advance warning on what was boiling in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan and other Middle Eastern countries.

I have to believe there were warning signs, and that the administration was informed, but nobody have could have predicted what event, what one thing, would drive a collective group of people to step out of their day to day struggle to survive to do like Howard Beal did in the movie, “Network” – scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” (click to see this incredible clip & get mad!)

So that got me thinking about the situation parents and college students face today!

Consider some of these facts:

  1. 80 percent of students move home they graduate
  2. Nearly 80% of 2,774,008 of the 2009-2010 grads were officially unemployed on graduation day.
  3. 51% of student loan recipients say it will take them more than 10 years to pay off their student loans
  4. According to federal statistics, only 57% of full-time college students graduate within SIX years
  5. 1/3 of college grads hold jobs that do NOT require a college degree

Then ask yourself:

  • Do you think parents and graduates are getting a return on their investment?
  • Do you think other businesses could survive if their product didn’t do what they said it would do and it ended up costing customers more than they anticipated!

Who’s got their head in the sand?

In Egypt right now, anyone who has been close to Mubarak and his family are running for cover as worldwide news organizations are starting to publish and make available through Social Media channels, how a 30 year dictator and those close to him have been stuffing their bank accounts and maintaining a lifestyle that supports homes around the world.  Egyptians are gaining access to statistics and information long suppressed that are making them, “Mad as hell!”

On the other hand, the above statistics have been readily available to college administrators, students and parents.   Students and parents seem to be resigned to the fact that they can’t do anything about the issues they faced.

College administrators seem to be focused on revenue and as long as they do not have to be accountable for these miserable stats, they seem comfortable ignoring them. What if college students and their parents knew that the private college they were attending was spending $3,000 to recruit a student and only $85 to prepare them for their career?   (according to NACE the average Career Center budget is just under $34,000)  also (State colleges spend approximately $1,000 to recruit a student)

Shouldn’t college students and their parents expect their college to do something to improve this situation?

In the 235 years since our nation was founded, we’ve been able to solve countless issues and seemingly impossible situations.  Something can be done.  In Japan nearly 70% of their graduating college students are getting jobs by the time they receive their diploma on graduation day.

Who is your elected officials listening to – Wall Street or YOU?

During the time our federal government used socialist tactics to bail out Wall Street, banks and corporations around the country, our Congress, Senate and state legislatures have:

  • Made sure that every college student that takes a student loan will NEVER be able to walk away from their debt.
  • Passed legislation that has made it even more difficult for aspiring college students to get their own credit cards and credit
  • Passed legislation to continue to push the cost of education on to parents and students, even when evidence of the return on investment is dropping.  (college tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007 while median family income rose 147 percent)

In the past 3 years, nearly 10 million graduates and parents have felt the effects of this legislation, but, still no uprising!

Tipping point!

So the question remains. When will students and parents reach their boiling point and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore?”

Will it be when:

  1. More students sue their alma mater like Trina Thomson did when she sued Monroe College for $72,000 (the full cost of her tuition)?
  2. A significant number of students default on their loans?
  3. Online education becomes a viable alternative and campus greens suddenly look like ghost towns?
  4. Congress requires both for-profit and non-profit colleges to GUARANTEE their graduates “gainful employment”?

Your guess is as good as mine.

But something is boiling, and if colleges want to be ahead of the game, they better be doing something to FIX these stats or their customers will consider their action, too little, too late.

Just like citizens in Egypt did!

Help make a different and bring about positive change.  Click here to sign a petition that suggests college administrators address this situation!