It is wrong to think that the next generation are growing up believing that they do not need a post-secondary education and that they will be well compensated for careers that they can take up straight after school. Young people are well aware from media that they need a post-secondary education to be able to tap into higher paid jobs.
It is probably not an exaggeration to claim that the so-called millennial generation is the first generation in 100 years of US history that has not enjoyed a better material quality of life than its parents. Indeed, millenials are having an extraordinary hard time even matching the financial success of their parents. Given that the next up and coming generation is seeing these changes first hand as they themselves come up in the world, it would be quite difficult for them to believe that they could enjoy career success without substantial effort and most likely investment in education.
I don't agree that we are raising the next generation to think they will be well compensated if they do not go onto college. I believe every household sets it's own standards and always has. The recent numbers released are indicative of the dying breed of " trades". Certainly you can and will be well compensated as a plumber, HVAC tech, etc.,however it does require post secondary training. There is a stigma with getting that college degree and it's importance of the earning potential, but it has to be balanced with the debt that goes along with it.
No our problem is that we are raising a generation that thinks a college degree, any college degree, is the guarantee of a well paying job. The truth is that more than 50 percent of college grads will not get good paying job right out of college, if ever. Our kids need to be more selective about their education choices.