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Small business owners increasingly wary of college graduates: survey

Freedom Economy Index showed 41% of small business owners see degree as 'net negative'

iStock/fpphotobank
iStock/fpphotobank | iStock/fpphotobank

A recent survey of more than 70,000 small business owners showed that the majority of them believe they should not be on the hook to pay off student loan debt, and that many increasingly believe a college education fails to prepare students for the real world.

The Freedom Economy Index (FEI), a survey that is a joint project of Public Square and RedBalloon, indicated in a study released last month that 68% of small business owners believe colleges should be responsible for paying back any student loan debt relief.

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said they strongly believe colleges and universities are not graduating students possessing skills relevant to today's business community, with 42% saying a degree on a resume makes no difference to them and 41% considering it a net negative.

Speaking to The Christian Post days after the Department of Education announced that the Biden administration approved $4.9 billion in additional student loan debt relief for 73,600 borrowers, RedBalloon CEO Andrew Crapuchettes predicted that many colleges and universities will be forced to shutter in the coming years amid an increasingly bloated and teetering higher education system that has failed to prove its value.

RedBalloon, which Crapuchettes founded in 2021, describes itself as "the marketplace's answer to the divisive and toxic 'cancel culture' invading the American workplace," according to its website.

As the CEO of a company that aims to connect job seekers with companies "who are looking for the freedom to work without the fear of discrimination against personal beliefs, infringement of constitutional rights, or invasion of medical privacy," Crapuchettes noted that many employers no longer value a college degree as they once did.

"If you believe that you can go and earn a six-figure salary the day after you get out, then [a college education] actually might just be a great investment," he said. "But what our employers in the FEI are telling us is that well, no, the compensation expectations for new graduates is completely out of whack with the market. They don't want to pay them that much, because they're not that useful, they're not that hard-working."

The FEI survey found that 67% of small business owners believe colleges are failing to prepare students for the workforce, with 91% claiming the schools are providing "unrealistic expectations among students about what their job and work life will be like post-graduation."

The top three unrealistic expectations were "salary levels," the "amount of work hours required," and the "difficulty of work to be performed," according to the survey.

"I think we have instilled in our students the desire to avoid work rather than the desire to work hard, and that's coming out of the higher education system," Crapuchettes said.

'We already have a demographic problem for colleges," he continued. "There's not enough high school students to justify all the universities we have in America, but if you combine that with the reality that those people are coming out unprepared for the workplace — and they're actually hurting their career prospects by going to college, in some instances — we're going to see a significant cliff that I think is going to put a lot of colleges and universities out of business, just to be frank."

"I think that's going to be the big shift over the next five to 10 years," he continued. "You're going to see colleges and universities shutting their doors, because there aren't enough students and they're not providing enough value for the employers on the back end of that higher education."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to jon.brown@christianpost.com

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