Life After College: A Weak Job Market and Hefty Student Loans
by Jasper Craven | Boston UniversityImage courtesy of Flickr, user Brady Dillsworth.
Alex Pomerantz, an Economics major at Boston University, is excited to graduate this May, but also a bit apprehensive.
“I am admittedly scared of the job market,” Pomerantz said. “But finishing school feels great so far.”
Pomerantz plans on moving to New York City in September after the lease on his Boston apartment expires. He has job security for the summer, working at the meat counter of a Shaw’s Supermarket.
However, finding a job in New York is proving quite hard. And this employment quandary is not a problem unique to Pomerantz. Indeed, a Rutgers University study released May 10th found that only 51% of recent college graduates have a full-time job.
“It’s hard to find hourly pay labor jobs at places like Starbucks,” Pomerantz said. “Finding a job with a salary and benefits for a kid fresh out of college with a BA is even harder.”
Will Huebner, an English major also graduating from BU this May, said he feels ecstatic to graduate, and is somewhat more optimistic that he will get a job.
“The job market is notoriously bad for people our age, but not bad enough to leave me with a depression,” Huebner said. “It’s certainly daunting, but finding a job in this market isn’t impossible, and I’m willing to take a job outside of my field to pay the bills until I can get one that I feel I deserve.”
Colleen Treado, a physics major at UMass Amherst, is going to graduate school to earn her PhD at New York University in the fall. She said she is comforted to have more time in school because friends are not having luck snagging a job.
“Many of my friends who are graduating have not yet found jobs, even though they’re all seemingly qualified to do something with their degrees,” Treado said. “I feel extremely lucky that I’m not in their position and that I won’t be for at least another five or six years.”
Treado said she hopes that by the time she is out of NYU, the economy will be looking up and jobs will be more plentiful.
The immediate need to make money after college is only magnified by student loans. Two-thirds of all college seniors in 2010 graduated with loans, according to a report by the Institute for College Access & Success Project on Student Debt. The average amount of debt for these seniors is $25,250.
“I have about a full years worth of tuition in loans that is already accruing interest at a rapid pace,” Pomerantz said. “I just hope this investment pays off.”
The same college report also found that many recent graduates receive family support for housing, food, healthcare, and college loan repayments.
Huebner said he is also chilled at the thought of paying off his hefty loans.
“Student debt is probably the scariest part about graduating college,” Huebner said. “Forget getting a job. Even if you do get a job right off the bat, there’s no guarantee that you will be able to pay off your loans.”
Treado, a Massachussets native, said she decided to go to UMass primarily because of the instate price tag. “I applied to nine schools and was accepted to eight, but I couldn’t afford any of the other schools without taking out loans,” Treado said. “My father has always tried to impress on all of us that we should not take out student loans if we can avoid it.”
Treado, who graduated second in her high school class, received a $10,000 a year scholarship from UMass, which, added to the in-state price, meant she owed between $5,000 and $10,000 a year. Her parents were able to pay this, and Treado is graduating debt free.
“I have no money right now,” Treado said. “But at least I don’t owe any money, either.”Jasper Craven is a NGJ College staff writer and a freshman at Boston University, double-majoring in Political Science and Journalism. He is originally from Vermont.