Do We Need 20 Million More College Grads?

Last Updated Jun 27, 2011 4:03 PM EDT

Close up of $1 billWith all the news about unemployed college graduates, you might wonder if a new Georgetown University report was released from the Twilight Zone.

The report suggests that the country needs far more college graduates than it is currently producing. In fact, the country will require 20 million more college-educated workers by 2025. That's 12 million more workers than the country is currently on target to produce.

The authors of the report, The Undereducated American, acknowledge that arguing that the country doesn't possess nearly enough college grads is a tough one in this environment. "With many college graduates unsuccessful in finding work in the current economic climate, the temptation to reject post-secondary education as a viable economic option grows stronger, especially among working families for whom college costs are always a stretch."

While conventional wisdom suggests that we have an overabundance of college graduates, the opposite is actually true, argues Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The Growing Income Gap

Why should we care? Because the authors argue that this scarcity of well-trained educated workers has prompted the alarming income gap between skilled and unskilled workers. Since 1980, they suggest, the supply of educated employees has failed to keep pace with demand which has prompted income equality to grow precipitously.

In 1980, the income gap between high school and college-educated workers was 40% and the gap grew to 74% in 2010. If America doesn't step up it's production of college students, the gap will grow to 96% by 2025.

Another Take on College Degrees

Okay, it's clear that college graduates make more money. And as long as supply and demand for these grads is out of whack, college grads will earn more money. But that begs the question of why the college degree needs to be so important. Many Americans with college degrees are working at jobs that don't require the skills they learned in college.

A new article in The Atlantic - The Importance of College: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - questions whether too many jobs in this country require a college degree. Check it out before you decide where you stand on this issue.

Read More on CBS MoneyWatch:

College Degree is Better Investment Than Stocks, Bonds or Gold
Where Professors Send Their Children to College
25 Private Colleges With the Best Graduation Rates
Here's the Nation's Easiest College Major
8 Reasons Not to Get a Business Degree
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.
College grad earnings image by Packmatt.

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