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Congratulations, class of 2010 college graduates! Are you hired yet?

In a still-tight job market, college graduates have their sights set on more education and opportunities abroad. Demand is up for statistics, finance, and accounting majors.

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“There may well have been a bump in borrowing for the classes of 2009 and ’10” because of increases in federal loan limits in the summer of 2008, says Edie Irons of the Institute for College Access & Success in Oakland, Calif.

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Here’s the good news: Their monthly federal loan payments can be capped at 15 percent of their discretionary income, and anything left over after 25 years of faithful payments will be forgiven.

If they opt for a government, nonprofit, or other public-service job, their debt can be forgiven after 10 years.

How is the job market affecting graduates’ plans?

Counselors who help students get into college have been hearing from soon-to-be graduates (and their parents!) seeking advice for next steps, especially since the implosion of Wall Street.

“There’s a lot of stress and angst,” says Matthew Greene, co-author of “College Grad Seeks Future.”

One healthy outcome, he says, is that today’s graduates are more “willing to look at the nonprofit sector, public service, internships ... things like independent school teaching.”

Mussadiq Akram, who graduates from Syracuse University on May 16, is one who veered from his plan to get a job, instead heading to Cornell for a master’s degree in energy economics.

It’s too soon to know how many in the class of 2010 will go to grad school, but last fall saw new graduate student enrollment rise nationally by
6 percent, says the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington.

Of 16 chemical engineering seniors at Syracuse, Mr. Akram says, one had a job contract by late April. Three others plan to go to graduate school, and most of the rest “have no idea,” he says. “One is going to do ski instructing in Chile for the summer.... Others have tried and tried [to find work] and not really gotten anywhere.”


College grads face tougher job market

US economy adds 290,000 jobs in April as recovery gains traction

How much will you be worth, college student?