How far does an education take you?

It is engrained in the heads of the youth that you must go to college to get a good job.

While overall that is good advice, some graduates are finding their $100,000 educations haven’t provided them with the necessary skills for the modern work world.

College is more expensive than ever forcing students to pay more than 400 percent more for a college education today than 30 years ago. And as a result of increased tuition costs, students are carrying mountains of debt and aren’t finding the high-paying, coveted jobs promised to them upon graduation.

In fact, an article by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) highlighted the trend of useless college degrees and cited a study that showed “60 percent of the increase in the number of college graduates from 1992 to 2008 worked in jobs that the (Bureau of Labor Statistics) considers relatively low skilled — occupations where many participants have only high school diplomas and often even less.”

The article went on to say, “Of the nearly 50 million U.S. college graduates, 17.4 million are holding jobs for which college training is regarded as unnecessary. The number of waiters and waitresses with college degrees more than doubled in the years 1992-2008, from 119,000 to 338,000, and cashiers with college degrees rose from 132,000 to 365,000.”

What happened to the American Dream for the youth of America?

It’s simple. Because of the push for American youngsters to get college degrees through government subsidies, a four-year degree is becoming less valuable in the working world. Therefore, students graduating with a bachelor’s degree are finding it necessary to get a master’s degree or even a Ph.D to set themselves apart from the masses in order to find a relatively good job that requires their degree.

This new reality, coupled with rising tuition costs, leaves students with a mountain of debt. How are the “5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees” ever supposed to pay off all that accrued school debt?

The Project on Student Debt estimates that 206,000 Americans graduated from college with more than $40,000 in student loan debt during 2008. Also shocking is a statistic printed in the Business Insider stating that, “Americans now owe more than $875 billion on student loans, which is more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.”

And what does the government do about it? It further encourages children to go to college getting any degree necessary to graduate while pushing financial assistance, which often comes in the form of a student loan. And cash-strapped states have no problems upping the tuition for public universities in order to obtain more revenue while at the same time cutting faculty and class options.

America is failing its college students by teaching them it’s okay to take on a mountain load of debt in an economy where there is no guarantee they’ll be able to pay it off.

“There are 2.37 million unemployed college graduates. That’s staggering,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “The number rises to 5.6 million when you also look at those with some college or an associate degree. We are doing a true disservice to our youth by pushing them along a path that offers no guarantee of success. The government’s continued push to educate America by any means necessary has only caused an education debt bubble, much like the housing crisis bubble, which we are still recovering from.”

An article in Forbes suggested that America would be better off with much less government subsidies for education. One of those reasons, “The statistical correlation between state government higher education spending and economic growth is negative, not positive, suggesting the positive economic spillover effects of governmental university aid are non-existent and maybe even negative.”

The author states that despite more youth attaining higher education, “voter participation has not risen, volunteerism has not dramatically increased, and other alleged social positive spillover effects of more higher education are not apparent.”

Instead America has created a glut of college-educated young adults facing a debt burden that has possibly pushed them even farther from the American Dream then before their college days.

As students work their way through college, they need to ask themselves if they are getting a valuable education. It is the job of both students and parents to hold college administrators accountable and make sure their education is a worthy investment.

Any other product that costs $100,000 that proves to not meet its advertised claims would not stand a chance in the marketplace. It is time for colleges to increase their value to students and society all while lowering their costs.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to the Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau.