How the Recession Changed the Reasons Students Go to College

Students increasingly go to college as a path toward better jobs, not to pursue particular interests.

Is college designed to give students job skills, or to encourage them to study subjects they're passionate about? It's a question that can incite endless debate, but according to the 46th annual Freshman Survey—a project of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA—students increasingly believe it's the former.

The survey, the largest of its kind, polled nearly 204,000 full-time freshmen entering 270 four-year colleges and universities last fall. Researchers found that 85.9 percent of freshmen said they're in college "to be able to get a better job." Prior to the recession, freshmen consistently answered “to learn more about things that interest me” as the major reason they pursued higher education.

Students pursuing different majors offered strikingly different motivations for seeking college degrees. Roughly 88 percent of freshmen planning to major in science, technology, engineering, or math, and 92 percent of students majoring in business, cited improved job prospects as the most important factor. Meanwhile, a relatively paltry 73 percent of humanities majors said job skills are most important to them.

Also predictably, 85 percent of business students said they're in school "to be able to make more money" compared to just 56 percent of humanities majors. But the good news for humanities majors is that, although their overall salaries remain lower than STEM and business majors, salaries for those grads saw the biggest percentage jump last year.

The recession has reshaped the entire nation, so it's not surprising that students are reacting by changing their priorities. Just as Americans who grew up during the Great Depression were shaped by economic hardship, the current generation of students are understandably motivated by a desire for financial stability.

Photo via (cc) Flicker user David Berkowitz

via National Nurses United/Twitter

An estimated eight million people in the U.S. have started a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for their own or a member of their household's healthcare costs, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The poll, which was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, also found that in addition to the millions who have launched crowdfunding efforts for themselves or a member of their household, at least 12 million more Americans have started crowdfunding efforts for someone else.

Keep Reading
via Library of Congress

In the months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the military to move Japanese-Americans into internment camps to defend the West Coast from spies.

From 1942 to 1946, an estimated 120,000 Japanese Americans, of which a vast majority were second- and third-generation citizens, were taken from their homes and forced to live in camps surrounded by armed military and barbed wire.

After the war, the decision was seen as a cruel act of racist paranoia by the American government against its own citizens.

The internment caused most of the Japanese-Americans to lose their money and homes.

Keep Reading

Step by step. 8 million steps actually. That is how recent college graduate and 22-year-old Sam Bencheghib approached his historic run across the United States. That is also how he believes we can all individually and together make a big impact on ridding the world of plastic waste.

Keep Reading
The Planet