If you’ve attended college or received a college degree, you’re facing better-than-average odds of managing to find and hold a job, even in this dismal economy.
So it’s slightly surprising that over a quarter of households receiving food stamps are headed by those who have attended college.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for December, the unemployment rate for high school grads was 7.1 percent. For those who had some college or an associate’s degree, the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, while for those who had graduated from college, the unemployment rate was a mere 3.3 percent.
Yet today, the Associated Press reported that “about 28 percent of food stamp households are headed by a person with at least some college training, up from 8 percent in 1980,” and “among those with four-year college degrees, the share rose from 3 percent to 7 percent.”
What’s going on?
Well, one reason might be that some of those attending college are picking the wrong subjects to study. While government financial aid doesn’t do anything to push students toward or away from certain majors, there’s no doubt that your field of study is often correlated with your future success (or lack thereof).
High college costs could also be a factor for the 21 percent of food stamp household heads who attended college, but didn’t receive a four-year degree. That’s why it’s so vital to encourage programs like Texas’ $10,000 college degree, which make college affordable.
The analysis of food stamp recipients, which was conducted for the Associated Press by the University of Kentucky, also found that, “working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Rachel Sheffield is calling for more work requirements for food stamp recipients, writing in a blog post earlier this month:
While the recession no doubt plays into the increases in food stamp participation, policy loopholes have opened the doors to boost growth as well In his 2009 stimulus bill, Obama allowed states to waive the modest ABAWD [able-bodied adults without dependents] work provision (which says that after 3 months ABAWDs must work or perform some type of work activity for 20 hours per week to remain on food stamps).