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Monday, February 14, 2011

"Generation Un"

We aren't doing enough to create opportunities for young people from middle and low income families, but we're doing plenty to make things harder:

The Plight of Generation Un, by Nancy Folbre: ...Apart from the American Opportunity Tax Credit and modest increases in financial aid, public policy is not doing much to help young people from moderate- and low-income families who can’t find a job or afford the education they need to improve their chances of finding one.
When last reported ... in August, unemployment among those aged 16 to 24 was about 19 percent – unchanged from the previous year. Partly as a result, community college enrollments, already on an upward trend, have grown in the last two years. However,... tuition and fees are increasing at community colleges, as well as at major universities, part of an intensifying trend toward privatization of higher education... Cuts in public support make it difficult for colleges and universities to fulfill their ... mission...
These problems will worsen as states cut their budgets and Congressional Republicans move to cut discretionary spending... [T]he California community college system, currently the largest in the country, may have to turn away 350,000 applicants next year. In Texas, another state with huge community college enrollments, the state legislature is proposing to close four colleges and slash state-subsidized health benefits for all community college employees. ...
Policies governing access to public assistance have also reduced opportunities for young adults to improve their skills. Empirical research exploiting differences in the date at which states implemented new welfare rules in the 1990s shows that stricter requirements that they work caused lower college enrollment among adult women by about 20 percent. ...
Bloomberg Businessweek uses the term “lost generation” to describe the severity of youth unemployment. But young adults are not lost. Most of them know exactly where they are. It’s just that many of them are mired in an un-opportunity society, excluded from productive participation. ...
Maybe we should dub them Generation Un, in recognition of those unable to find a job, unable to pay for college and unable to find the opportunities they need to help generate sustainable economic growth for the rest of us.

Losing the future.

    Posted by on Monday, February 14, 2011 at 02:27 PM in Economics, Unemployment, Universities | Permalink  Comments (70)


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