College Competition and Student Loan Debt

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Laura Newland examines the hypercompetitive battle for internships and the economic pressures—student loans, the daunting cost of graduate degrees, high unemployment—at the nation’s elite universities. She argues that these economic pressures have fueled a Wall Street recruiting machine that is winning over the best and the brightest. In Chasing Zeroes: The Rise of Student Debt, the Fall of the College Ideal, and One Overachiever’s Misguided Pursuit of Success, she writes about her own experiences with college debt and the lure of finance, and looks at higher education and the tension between ambition and debt.


Laura Newland

Comments [6]

lawtard from New Jersey

I'm on the tail end of Gen Y (1984). I made the mistake of going to law school. What disturbs me about some of the attitudes of my forebears is they don't seem to realize that its not the education that's a problem. I value my education and time spent at University. I believe its still the best way for some people to have a fulfilling career. However, what we have is too few jobs and too many grads in the market.

Additionally, most jobs available require a skill set that simply is not highlighted at the university level. So most people are not prepared to take those positions upon graduation. Companies are not willing to invest in their employees by training them. Companies try to shift the blame on to everyone else for this. How is it the fault of a new grad that they can't afford to take an "unpaid" internship to learn? I know in the legal profession (though my own experiences as well) that many interns NEVER get job offers. They may spend a year at a firm and invest hundreds of hours for absolutely nothing but a pat on the back and a nice "recommendation." I can say that being about 3 years out of school now, I knew nothing about the real practice of law or business. I spent the last 3 years searching for a job. I worked doing a number of non-legal jobs before I finally landed a 22.h job at an insurance company. I also have 150k worth of debt. Road to the middle class indeed.

Feb. 01 2014 01:16 PM
ivan obregon from manhattan

fxxx the prestige, look at the money offered or available when choosing your schooling while fxxx the money and the prestige and look at your passion and your vocation's integrity TO YOU (too) when choosing a career.....

better to be the doctor u want to be from CUNY or SUNY than the public health official you didn't want to be from Columbia or NYU.....especially if the risk at your dream is gonna be priced on your head by dirty banksters and state bureaucrats kapitalizing on your....."opportunity".

Jan. 30 2014 12:34 PM
Caesar Romaine from Manhattan

Poor millennial! You ARE special! You were *entitled* to the best education available, you deserve a great job! A guaranteed job with a "development program" that coddled you, your career and massaged your delicate ego. Every adult in your life prior to and during college was there for your benefit - every teacher, couselor and coach. There was no punisment, there was "time out". Then you got to the "real world" and realized it actually wasn't all about you! There was competition! There were companies that wanted/expected to know what you would do for them and not what they could do for you??? Goldman Sachs wasn't there to provide a nuruting environment to help you learn and grow??? Not fair at all!

Jan. 30 2014 12:32 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Wall Street graduates of EST? Werner Erhard?

Jan. 30 2014 12:25 PM
Meredith from nyc

Question for guest.....I read that college grads in other advanced countries get either free or low cost tuition, This may change their whole outlook on careers. How do these countries achieve this?

Is the American public aware of this? Why can't we do same?

Jan. 30 2014 12:16 PM

Engineering firms also recruit & pay underclassmen for internships. At least in software, they likewise have a vigorous recruiting machine.

Jan. 30 2014 12:15 PM

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