As the recent Occupy Wall Street protests have shown, many young people are angry about the rising cost of college. Few want to be burdened by tens of thousands of dollars in debt and are seeking debt forgiveness on college loans -- especially in light of the nation's lackluster job market, which is yielding too few job prospects.
Statistics from the College Board show that average in-state tuition last year at public colleges and universities exceeded $17,000, including room and board -- a 6 percent rise from 2010. CNN notes that in 2009 Americans spent $461 billion on post-secondary education. That's equivalent to 3.3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product and more than the total GDP of Sweden, Norway and Portugal.
Still, for many Americans, a college education has proven a worthy investment, yielding a lifetime's worth of higher wages. The key today for beginning or returning college students is to find a career in demand, since the ability to be flexible in choosing an area of study may mean the difference between getting a job post-graduation or not.
That's because some majors are more in demand than others, resulting in a flood of psychologists and architects. Whereas, those who study less popular offerings, such as engineering or pharmacology, are more likely to find work.
A recent report from the University of California, San Diego, shows that positions in information, communications and technology are high on a list of "emerging niche industries" with growing job prospects.
Those include such careers in health care as laboratory technologist, which generally requires a bachelor's degree with a major in medical technology or life sciences. Forecasts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the rise in such positions at 12 percent, or nearly 21,000 jobs, by 2018.