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"In 2009 the U.S. graduated 89,140 students in the visual and performing arts, more than in computer science, math and chemical engineering combined and more than double the number of visual and performing arts graduates in 1985."

As much as I kvetch about the defunding of public education, it's not enough to just hand students degrees that have no relation to hiring needs.

hat tip to +Brandon Badger
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From the 2012 SOTU: "I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills. Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job. Think about that –- openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work. It’s inexcusable. And we know how to fix it."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/24/remarks-president-state-union-address
 
I've always been curious to see the breakdown of outstanding student loans (and defaulted or other distressed student loans) by major.

The Georgetown CEW has some reports that address related issues (unemployment and income by major) but I'd really like to know how much of the "mountain of student loan debt" is uniform across fields of study and how much of it is skewed like the above graphs.
 
I don't intend this to be an argument against student loan funding as a whole (or a rounded education, for that matter), but as in any case in which there are finite resources (in this case: faculty, classes, and financial aid money), there has to be some policy to allocate resources.

Right now, people choose their primary labor specialization when they're roughly twenty and haven't spent substantial time in the labor market. While there are signals pushing them towards particular majors (salary upon graduation, unemployment upon graduation), isn't it reasonable that field of study should be taken into account (in addition to need and merit) when distributing financial aid? Study what you'd like -- but, as a society, why not prioritize subsidy of students in fields in which we're underproducing graduates?

Meanwhile, the University of Pheonix receives 90% of its revenue from federal grants and loans -- about a billion dollars. The for-profit average? 75%.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/education/06gain.html

Degree and major statistics:
http://nces.ed.gov/Programs/digest/
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/2011menu_tables.asp
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