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Insider Today: Gen Z is out on college

Dan DeFrancesco   

Insider Today: Gen Z is out on college

    Hi, and welcome to Insider Today! I'm Dan DeFrancesco, your host for the next five minutes.

    Hopefully, you had a relaxing holiday weekend and weren't caught up in the chaos at Burning Man or Electric Zoo.

    In today's big story, we're looking at why college isn't part of the plan for some Gen Zers.

    What's on deck:

    But first, seven years of college down the drain!

    If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.

    The big story

    Gen Z has never been comfortable maintaining the status quo.

    From calling out toxic work cultures to pronouncing skinny jeans dead, Gen Zers aren't afraid to shake things up.

    And now they've targeted an American tradition: going to college.

    Between skyrocketing tuition costs and underwhelming salaries, some Gen Zers are skipping college altogether, writes Charlotte Lytton. It's a move that's gaining momentum, as four million fewer people enrolled in college in 2022 compared to 2012.

    And honestly, universities had it coming.

    For years, debates have raged over the value of a college degree. Going to college for plenty of people amounted to spending six figures on a piece of paper. Little of what they learned in the classroom applied to their eventual careers.

    But the pandemic exposed the college experience's broken facade.

    Whether it was trading meme stocks and crypto, investing in NFTs, or starting an OnlyFans, people didn't need a formal education to make boatloads of cash. Suddenly, racking up student debt while taking gen-ed classes from your childhood bedroom didn't sound like a good use of time or money.

    Social media, specifically TikTok, didn't help. The platform turned people into stars overnight. Who wants to write papers when they can try and be the next Alix Earle?

    Of course, plenty of those gold mines didn't last. Meme stocks and crypto crashed. NFTs blew up. TikTok hasn't been the cash cow some creators thought it would be.

    (Earle, for what it's worth, graduated from the University of Miami this May and is now funding a scholarship for business students at the school.)

    I'm not suggesting Gen Zers are wrong to skip out on college.

    The system is undoubtedly flawed. But I think something is lost by bypassing the college experience entirely.

    The countless social interactions during college become relevant lessons. And no, I'm not talking about playing beer pong or deciding what group costume to wear for Halloween.

    From living with strangers to navigating the politics of a group project, college does prepare students for the real world, albeit not in the way it's advertised.

    This might sound like nonsense — there are plenty of well-adjusted, successful people who never went to college — but it's not unfounded.

    The pandemic's disruption of the college experience has left some Gen Zers struggling in the workplace.

    A recent survey found that 40% of business leaders think recent Gen Z college grads are unprepared when they enter the workforce. One of the main issues is communication, with some companies even setting up special classes on "soft skills" for Gen Zers.

    So while college isn't worth its hefty price tag, it's still worth something.

    Read the full story.

    3 things in markets

    • Wall Street's return-to-office plans. From Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan to Blackstone and Bridgewater, we've got a complete rundown of the in-office expectations of top finance firms.
    • Here's why economist David Rosenberg is still predicting a recession. While other experts have thrown in the towel on their recession predictions, Rosenberg expects the US economy to slump within the next six months. These seven quotes from a recent interview shed light on his rationale.
    • Student loan payments are coming back, and things could get ugly. Payments are set to start up again in October. But a myriad of issues, from the Education Department's lack of resources to inflation, could create a "perfect storm" of obstacles for borrowers.

    3 things in tech

    • Amazon vs. Shopify. Internal documents revealed tension between the two e-commerce companies. In a rare move, Amazon had to compromise and give up ground to get Shopify to cooperate.
    • Salesforce CEO says no plans for "major" layoffs. Marc Benioff revealed that after a year of major job cuts and budget tightening, the company is now hiring for critical roles.
    • "I'm a 'grumpy stayer' at my tech job." An LA-based tech worker isn't happy with their pay. But they're begrudgingly staying put because leaving one mediocre job for another feels pointless.

    3 things in business

    • A weight-loss startup has struggled to get patients the buzzy drugs they want. Calibrate grew to serve tens of thousands of members and got big-name backers in three years. But the startup is facing a mountain of patient complaints and refunds as drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy are expensive and in short supply. Layoffs have added to its woes.
    • Prison healthcare giant Corizon reached a tentative bankruptcy deal, which could shortchange prisoners. Hundreds of prisoners who filed medical malpractice claims against Corizon could get pennies on the dollar. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren is now looking into the controversial financial maneuver.
    • If you just got reassigned at work, read this. New data showed that more people are moving internally, whether because they were promoted or had their roles cut. Experts say it often means your company wants to keep you.

    In other news

    What's happening today

    • Spooky season came early: Stephen King is publishing a new book. "Holly" is a horror fiction that follows the life of private investigator Holly Gibner.
    • Seoul Fashion Week kicks off today. Designers will debut their Spring/Summer 2024 collections.
    • Earnings today: Asana, Gitlab, and other companies.

    For your bookmarks

    Costco weight loss staples

    The 12 Costco products this man swore by during his weight-loss journey. The list includes Rice Krispies, seaweed, and the Kirkland Signature smoked salmon.

    The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.