Mitt Romney often shares that 50 percent of college graduates under age 25 are either jobless or underemployed. Put aside that the low mark of the past 20 years was 41 percent in 2000, according to the Associated Press. Young people should know that a college degree means a brighter future. The overall unemployment rate for college graduates is 4 percent. Those with a high school degree only? Above 11 percent.
Where Ohio and other states should direct their attention is making college more affordable. On Wednesday, the Institute for College Access and Success reported that the average student loan debt increased 5 percent the past year to $26,500. Ohio rated above the national average at $28,680, an increase of 3.5 percent.
Practically everyone wants universities to become more efficient, deploying innovative and less costly ways to provide an education. State lawmakers, governors and others fool themselves if they think this debt problem can be addressed through such steps alone.
Consider that today, in real dollars, the state of Ohio spends roughly the same amount of public money on higher education as it spent in 1980. The priority appears misplaced, to say the least, the global economy rewarding greater knowledge, especially in advanced economies, the state desperately needing to make the transition from the brawn of manufacturing to the brains of a new world. You would think a larger public investment in higher education would be imperative.