One of the most common complaints heard amongst young postcollegiate’s is the expense of student loans/debt in direct relation to how worthless the value of their diploma is in the job market. I’m the first to admit that the “I racked up several thousand dollars in student loan debt and all I got was this lousy American Culture degree [at a college that doesn’t exist any more” joke works every time.
But what if you were guaranteed a job with your diploma? What if your college had enough faith in the quality of the education, the value of the diploma, and the career support services and guidance that they would promise to give you a job if you couldn’t find one? Sound ridiculous? Perhaps like the utopian plot of a never-published novel from some literature major toiling away in their parent’s basement?
That’s exactly what Albion College, a small liberal arts college in Michigan, is doing, starting with the class of 2014. They are pledging that they will help every graduate find meaningful employment by the end of the summer after graduation. If the graduate can’t find meaningful employment, Albion is willing to offer free classes, free career training programs, paid internships, and even on-campus jobs. What’s even better is students have up to two years after graduate to invoke the pledge.
I think this is an incredible step for a liberal arts college, who find themselves increasingly unable to attract bright, motivated students for fear that you must have a career-orientented diploma to secure a job in an uncertain market. I also think it’s a brave move for any institution to make such a committment to their students, parents, and alumnae. The world has made me an increasingly cynical person in many ways but hearing about this school’s dedication to keeping a promise is enough to put me in a sunny mood for the rest of the week.
What do you think? Would this pledge be enough to convince you to attend Albion? For those of you less than 2 years out, would you take advantage of such a program if your alma mater offered it?