Study Shows 85% of New College Grads Move Back in With Parents

Fresh new unemployment numbers and an extremely shitty economy are causing all the new college grads to move back in with mom and dad. Time reported on Tuesday that according to a poll conducted by consulting firm Twentysomething Inc., some 85% of new college grads are going back home not long after their cap and gown ceremony.

85%! That’s like… everyone. This statistic is apparently not surprising, given recent trends. NYMag is on the beat:

Over the past several months, the same sharp and distressing arguments have been popping up in the Times, cable news, the blogosphere, even The Chronicle of Higher Education. The cost of college, as these arguments typically go, has grown far too high, the return far too uncertain, the education far too lax… “The cost of college in the past 30 years has gone up tenfold. Health care has only gone up sixfold, and inflation has only gone up threefold. Not only is it a scam, but the college presidents know it. That’s why they keep raising tuition,” [James Altucher, a New York–based venture capitalist and finance writer recently wrote.]

Indeed, the Time piece offers us some less-than-stellar statistics regarding unemployment of new college grads: 54% of the under-25 group are out of a job already, and many of them have student loans to pay off.

This turn of events, if you will, is a pretty disturbing one if you’re currently in college, especially given the fact that if you’re in college, you typically don’t give a shit about the future and prefer just to not acknowledge the looming specter of post-graduation and instead order another round of tequila shots.

Such statistics prompt us to question the legitimacy of American higher education – at least the financial aspects of it. Anyways, some advice to those going into college: major in chinese or drop out and start an organic farm. Or just reconsider the thing entirely. Seriously. TC mark

image – Bwaydiva1


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  • Readywater

    Going in to (further) debt to stay independent in a place that inspires is infinitely better than the mental atrophy that is suburbia.

    • pjaime

      I feel the same way.

      Except that my debt's not too bad, since I managed to get into a good science/engineering school with a great financial-aid package. It's a lot of fun, too.

      I have mixed feelings about college. I can't reconcile feeling that the average college degree may be worthless with feeling glad to go where I do with my classmates.

      I'm also not sure whether to go to grad school and bolt or just try out the real world for a change. Our concert choir's conductor told us once during rehearsal: “The real world is highly overrated. Stay in school as long as you can.” And he's a pretty sharp guy.

      • Readywater

        Ya. I racked up a few grand living on retail life while I tried to find a job with a political science degree and an interest in new media installation art, but it worked out (am an interaction designer now). The “Real world” is severely underrated in academia, and I strongly suggest it. Not only do you make good money, but the kind of shit you learn (while being paid)/the direction you define for yourself is invaluable when/if you decide to go back to school later.

    • raerae

      I made a vow that the day I moved out of my parents house that I would never move back in.

      • starseed

        as did i. and i failed miserably.

  • EmiliaBedelia

    I think the 'alternatives to college' discourse has to increase. As someone whose future is academia, I always advise people (friends, etc) not to go to grad school (or sometimes university in general). University has become like an extension of high school, and grad school an extension of undergrad, diluted by all the kids that shouldn't be there in the first place, not because they aren't smart or capable (though sometimes that) but because they have the resources to do so much more. Academia should be treated like a vocation for insane, hopeless masochists.

    • Mariesa Samba

      Yes, thisthisthis! College has somehow morphed into a classist structure that is less so about academia and more so about social capital, resulting in more degrees being bought rather than earned

  • Jennifer Sussex

    what's it going to look like when less people go to college?

  • star colonel kotaire

    there's nothing better than paying no rent on anything, and making 65k a year out of college. either way, we're supposed to be saving our money to pay off the debt mountain started by Reagan

  • Brian McElmurry

    Go to college. I dropped out. I make copies and scan shit. It pays the bills, but there is no joy.

  • Briana

    i went to NYU with no financial aid and no money from my parents. i am now $150k+ in debt (which means $1,000/month for the next 25 years).

    i'm no nihilist or complainer; NYU was a pretty okay time. still: nothing is worth wasting the entirety of your youthful life shackled by debt that costs more/month than your rent.


    • star colonel marcus kotaire

      divide it into tranches, package and sell it; use a shell company to buy some swaps and then default. problem solved.

  • Julia

    Honestly, if you aren't studying in something skill-specific, (like the sciences or math) then really, the main reason why you should get a college degree is for the degree itself. It does open doors to careers that you might otherwise not be able to even have a chance in getting without a degree. It doesn't really matter what the degree is, look at the stats. I don't know about the 85%, but I do know that as a undergrad ready to graduate in a year, a majority of my friends are moving back home, and the minority are starting to work full-time, but in retail or restaurants. The smart ones are interning, but even then, they aren't getting paid much. I am seriously considering taking my savings (I transferred to a 4 year from community college and saved a shitload that way) and moving out of America. Someplace where it's easier to start a career from an entry-level job/internship. But meanwhile I am in school, using up all my mental energy in writing papers and studying stuff that I know won't make tangible results after I graduate because GPA doesn't really matter to employers.

    College is a good place to learn skills, like writing, socializing, etc. but there must be a better way to do that where you don't feel like you're wasting time on irrelevant material or sucking up to professors or believing that the way up the social ladder is by getting into a sorority or knowing how to hold your liquor. Everyday I have to rethink why I'm in college.

  • guyz

    thanks for the post brandon.

    “The cost of college, as these arguments typically go, has grown far too high, the return far too uncertain, the education far too lax”

    AAAH! so true and sad

  • kyle m

    I'm 21 and can't find the will to go to college knowing that I will have to pay it all on my own, aka be in huge debt. I'm really interested in not being in huge debt and instead of paying off debt and shit, use the money I make to help excel in a field I think I can succeed in.

    College is seeming more insane every year, particularly because of how expensive it is. Will people even go to college in 20 years if they don't want to be doctors or engineers and those things?

  • James

    i think in like 20 years existentialism will reach a new height in popularity… themes of “creating yourself”, “viewing your life as a work of art”, “taking responsibility for who are you”, “no excuses”, “living authentically”, “becoming an individual”… it all just seems so insanely relevant to this if you know what i mean..

  • Heather

    This is Why I'm forgoing my dream schools (NYU, George Washington, UC berkeley-out of state) and staying at home for college. I may not get the perfect college experience, but I'll get to go to school for virtually free, and since I'm majoring in the liberal arts, that is probably a good thing.

  • Dan

    I went to college for one semester, but I quickly realized what a load of bollocks it all is. I'd have to take general classes for two years before I got to even see anything related to my major. I don't need calculus or anthropology to be a graphic designer. So after a semester, I said fuck it and just started working freelance. It's making me good money and I'm building up a good portfolio, so that in a couple months I can start applying to design studios. Working on my own has taught me more than any college course ever could, and I have no debt. The internet is the best education, if I'm interested in doing something, I look it up and do it. I wanted to learn audio production, so after a quick torrent and some googling, I got started. No college can top that.

    • Dan

      Oh and I forgot to mention, the reason it was so easy for me to start doing my own work is because I've been learning and designing since sophomore year of high school. It's like I just sorta did college on my own.

  • Tory

    I feel like the American college experience has been deteriorating–it's become too much about the limited social world that college provides and too little about actually learning a skill, so everybody just runs around taking easy gen-ed classes so they can say they got a degree, and then they realize they have no idea what they want to do.

    I go to school in England, where you don't apply to a university: you apply to do a degree in a specific subject at that university. You know what you're gonna be studying right off the bat. It streamlines the process, helps you focus, and the programs can put a lot more emphasis on helping you figure out what you're gonna do next. I wish American universities did that.

    • genna mae

      The biggest problem with the American-style university is that university regents require education in a broad range of disciplines. One can have chosen a definite degree program early on, but will still have to sit through bullshit that has nothing to do with the degree–or worse, that the student already went through (and with more depth!) in high school.

      I'm currently in Germany for a semester, and all that this school requires for a degree in my field are math and science. It is so no-bullshit here. I wish I could stay.

  • genna mae

    The entire situation really blows for those of us who have been in college since before the economic meltdown. We started college when it still made some sense, and now our degrees are just expensive pieces of paper that make us overqualified for whatever jobs are still available.
    Just before the housing bubble burst, I changed my major to one in the sciences that I could do a lot with, that had lots of different kinds of jobs available. For some time after the crash (probably about a year or so), there still was some expansion happening in my field, but now that's gone and there are almost no jobs available. Government, private sector, academia–all of the jobs have dried up with budget cuts.
    What makes me the most nervous is that a close friend graduated with my same degree a year ago and is STILL unemployed. He's a smart guy, with a degree from the top school in the country for our discipline, and can't even get called back for substitute teaching.
    When I finish next year, I won't get to move back with my parents and still find a job in my field, unless I want to commute for two hours a day (but with what car?). I either have to make really strong grades next year and get into grad school, or I have to basically sell myself at job fairs and conferences while I'm trying to get all of my shit done.

    Oh, the despair. I was seriously crying on the phone to my parents about this the other night.

  • Tao Lin


    • Ahmad Radheyyan


  • Importantfacts

    I have never read more ungreatful, whiney ass comments in my life.  Whaaaa… is overrated.  Booohoooo…..I went to NYU and now I have to pay back my loans.  (Smart enough to get into NYU, but not smart enough to have considered the cost?)  Good gosh people, your attitudes are reflective of  EXACTLY what’s wrong in this country:  an enormous sense of entitlement.  I am GREATFUL that I was able to go to college and hell yeah it has served me well over the last 10 years.  I went to a large southern state university.  Down here, students choose schools like UNC and Ole Miss over the Ivy League because our state universities have huge alumni organizations that mean something come job seeking time.  College is more than just bookwork.  Socialization is just as important to your career as what you know.  Ok, so in closing, I have some advice for you guys from the REAL WORLD about how to “make” it:  Make good grades, yes.  But also go greek and get involved with successful alumni who can help you get a job when you get out.   Also, go to the best state university that you can get into, unless the cost of your private school education is offset by scholorships and grants or your folks are well off and will pay cash for your education.  Do NOT start your young life off in huge debt!  Prestigious private schools are that are TRULY worth their cost such as Duke and the Ivies will make sure that your financial needs are met 100% – and NOT by borrowing – through grants. 

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