FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
President Obama flew to Durham, North Carolina, Monday to meet with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council hoping to get some ideas from corporate leaders on how to boost the economy and promote job creation. Now there's an idea.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/06/13/art.diploma.jpg caption=""]
He's going to need all the help he can get. With 9.1% unemployment, things aren't looking so hot, particularly with the jobs situation so bleak for college age and college-educated young Americans, a demographic that widely voted for President Obama in 2008.
According to a one study, the median starting salary for students graduating from four-year colleges in 2009 and 2010 was $27,000 a year. That's 10% lower than what those who entered the workforce from 2006 through 2008 earned. A separate study found only about 45% of college graduates under age 25 are working a job that requires a college degree. Less than half. That number varies from major to major: Those who majored in education and teaching or engineering are much more likely to find a job requiring a college degree. But while engineering jobs are highly paid, education and teaching jobs have much lower earning potential.
And here's a sobering thought: Half the 54,000 jobs created in May came from McDonald's.
All of this is reigniting the debate over whether a college degree is really worth it in this economy. Over the past 20 years, tuition and fees at public universities have jumped nearly 130%. But real income for the middle class has actually dropped. The latest figures show the median income in the U.S. is $400 lower than it was in 1988.
We hear a lot about dealing with a "new normal" in the wake of the Great Recession. Choosing against a four-year college degree may be part of that for some Americans.
Here’s my question to you: Has the value of a college degree changed in recent years?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Sylvia in San Diego, California:
When our young people are coming out of college with a bachelors degree and debt to the tune of $100,000 plus, yes, the value of a college education has changed. That said, I would advise today's high school graduate who does not know what they want to study to go to a community college to find themselves. It will be less expensive and less stressful.
It depends on where a person is headed. If college is just a place to hang out for four years to think about what you might want to do, few can afford it. Personally, I'd opt for a good culinary school or consider the fact the local plumber, a high school graduate, makes $75 an hour.
Alex in Washington:
Not really, Jack, but the cost to get a degree has risen to the point that you question the value of something that will leave you in debt for so long. Back in the day I went to a state school and was able to complete my degree debt-free thanks to the G.I. Bill.
My college degree changed my life. I went from being a security guard making $20,000 per year barely being able to pay bills without health insurance to getting a government job making $34,000 per year. Now I can manage my bills and have health coverage with a foreseeable future.
I'm a 24-year-old teacher and am one of the few recent graduates I know to get a job right out of college. I have a couple friends who were also lucky enough to find jobs. They are engineers. College education is as important as ever, but the role of certain degrees has changed. There is plenty of demand in fields like education and science and technology. College students today need to be smart when choosing their degrees.
R. in Minnesota:
You bet it has changed! We push people through High School who can't read or write, then send them to college where a litany of overbearing college professors only give you passing grades if you totally subscribe to their left wing ideology, and what you get on the back side are ignorant young adults who lack the job skills to compete with the world, but who sure can chant out "Hope and Change" mantras......