Want to save this page for later?

NextGen Magazine


Study: College Debt Stopping Same Goals People Went Into Debt For in First Place

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 8, 2019

College debt, often seen as a way to finance later career ambitions, has been found to have a perverse effect of actually derailing those same ambitions as graduates take jobs outside their field to pay it off, according to CNBC. This is the conclusions of a study published by SavingForCollege.com which found that more than half of those who carry at least $55,000 in student debt said that they took a job outside their field versus 29 percent of those who had no debt at all. Another recent study calculated the proportion to which debt diminishes people's likelihood of winding up in a career related to their majors, eventually arriving at 5 percent per $2,500 in debt.

CNBC noted that debt makes people less choosy about the jobs they pick. So, for instance, a marine biology major who wanted protect the environment could wind up the manager of a big box store instead because of the need to pay down their debt. 

This can have severe implications for someone's overall career development. A study from last year found that the first job out of college is crucial to one's later professional development, as by working in another field they are not developing the skills necessary to advance in their chosen one. This is especially the case if someone ends up underemployed. What they found was that 87 percent of workers who had full-time work right out of college tended to hold positions matching their education levels five years later, and 91 percent of those employed at the five-year mark continued to be appropriately employed 10 years later. Conversely, those who were underemployed right out of college (roughly 43 percent of college graduates) were five times more likely to remain underemployed five years after graduating. By the time 10 years pass, 75 percent of those who started out underemployed remain underemployed.