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Manhattan Institute

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Issues 2016: Only One-Third of College Enrollees End Up in Jobs Requiring College Degrees

issue brief

Issues 2016: Only One-Third of College Enrollees End Up in Jobs Requiring College Degrees

February 4, 2016
EducationHigher Ed

Executive Summary

Since 2000, in-state tuition at U.S. public four-year universities has risen 50 percent in real terms, while total outstanding student loans have doubled in the past ten years, to surpass $1.3 trillion. These figures have prompted calls for greater federal funding and even a guarantee of "free" college.

Key Findings

  • Only 52 percent of U.S. students who enroll in college graduate within six years.
  • Nearly half—44 percent—of recent college graduates from four-year institutions are underemployed.
  • Only 33 percent of enrollees in four-year colleges emerge with a degree and a relevant job.

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