If you were to ask the average person what they’re saving money for, the chances are that you’d hear them say that they’re saving for a house, a car, retirement, or simply saving to accumulate wealth. All of these answers are perfectly fine, but when investing in the future, I wonder if many of us are leaving out another important investment path-students.
It’s no small secret that the average amount of student debt is growing and that unemployment for recent college graduates is hovering around 53%. For those of us fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, this in itself doesn’t seem like a big deal. “Too bad, so sad”, some might be inclined to think. And they are completely right-too bad, so sad for economic growth and for the stable future you envisioned for yourself.
With 53% unemployment among recent grads, that means that about 1 in 2 of our highly educated workforce aged 21-25 is not able to contribute to GDP. With an average student debt of $29,400 and 19.9 million students in 2013, that represents over $585 billion dollars that is not able to be put back into the economy. So for all this talk of budget deficits and stalled economic growth, we have a solution right here in some of our university’s brightest minds.
For all the concern about the budget deficit and how to close the gap, $585 billion seems like it could help close that gap significantly. Even for those of us concerned about our future and preserving or enhancing our way of life, we have the very people that can make it happen right in front of our faces. So, what do we do?
To invest in our students properly, we should help close that student debt by investing in scholarships and other money saving initiatives. We should employ these highly educated students. And we shouldn’t just employ them, we should train them to have the necessary skills to contribute properly. When thinking about higher education, we should consider the student and not just the institutions. Remember, the old saying about children being our future is not just empty rhetoric, it is real because twenty years from now, those will be the people that you have to depend on to keep your world from falling apart.