On the top of that, college aggregated costs (including undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions) rose 37 percent between 1999–2000 and 2009–10. Prices at private institutions rose 25 percent. The new normal in the US has been to take student loans (which are on the verge of default in a sub-prime implosion, as Zerohedge have commented on numerous occasions). All prices are adjusted for inflation. In Euroland, friends in Spain report that one academic year is now EUR 2000, up a 66 percent from the previous year.
As a desert, we have been introduced to "degrees" unrelated to arts or the sciences, or to nothing in particular for that matter, such as gender studies, studies for gender equality, social carer (now with college degree inside!) and so on. Weak degrees such as education have become a nest where mediocrity is now synonym to achievement.
These three facts (rising number of students, of degrees and prices) are clear symptoms of an education bubble. My opinion is that one must put space between himself and this bubble. In this case, one must learn to face life without the imposed need for a degree. Stay away from degrees which are inherently professional and promise the job of a lifetime. Stay away from degrees swept by dumb people bent on parties and giving shit about culture, knowledge and hard work.
If you want knowledge, a very cheap way to get it is to buy the books by Dover Publishers and solved exercises by Schaum. With prices ranging from USD5 to USD30 on Amazon, you will be given everything you need to acquire knowledge. Math forums exists all over the Internet, so specific questions can be addressed and discussed by anonymous posters. Also, don't forget about materials published in platforms such as OpenCourseWare from MIT and Stanford.
When taking a job, one would start from the bottom but with technical ability and knowledge there would be no obstacle to reach the top if the company is honest and with a foot in the real world. Remember, the old paradigm is dying.
Of course you could go to Germany or any other country that still subsidizes its education. For now.
Think about it, it is hard, but the other option is placing yourself in the world of underwater student loans.
PD: Just as I was about to hit "publish", I stumbled upon the last quote by Marc Faber, in this very line of thought, that I quote here:
My advice to young people is that the degree is not important. If you have parents that can pay for your degree, then I would take one. If I had to borrow a lot of money, I’m not sure I would take one. I would try to work for someone who is successful and acquire knowledge from them.
Whatever you do, you should do with a lot of passion and heart and like what you do. If you like what you do, you will do a better job than if you are indifferent to what you do at your job. I think there are plenty of opportunities in every field.