"Grim outlook" for Washington's college students?

In a story titled Latest numbers reveal Washington college students not spared from grim outlook, KPLU reports on the three big issues facing higher education today: Student loans, increase in tuition, and unemployment and underemployment in recent college graduates.

Nationally, student debt is estimated to have hit the $1 trillion dollar mark. KPLU reports that this is more than the nation’s credit card balance ($693 billion) and auto loan balance ($730 billion). Currently, the issue of student loans has been making political waves with interest rates set to increase in the summer. In Washington, The Project on Student Debt reports that students graduate with $22,000 dollars in debt. Nationally, students graduate with $25,000 in debt.

With a still shaky economy, public colleges and universities have seen a decrease in funding across the nation and have responded with an increase in tuition. Washington is not an exception. Every major public university and college in Washington state has increased their tuition by double digits.

KPLU points to a recent Associate Press story which showed that half of recent college graduates were either unemployed or underemployed. In particular, those with humanities degrees have a tougher time finding work related to their fields as opposed to those with degrees in computer science or engineering. In an interview with KPLU, spokesman for Washington’s Higher Education (HEC) Board Bob Burdick stated, “In today’s knowledge-based, high-tech economy, those who do not earn some form of postsecondary degree or certificate or participate in an apprenticeship program will simply not be competitive for living-wage jobs. And it will become more and more like this in the future.”

Read the whole story here.

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