COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The recession and a tough job market have more college graduates joining the military, officials said.
The number of military recruits with bachelor's degrees has steadily increased from 2008 through 2010, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported.
Among them is Ben Harris, who lives with his parents in Hilliard, Ohio, and works at a fast-food restaurant. It's not what he expected as a double major in political science and communications at Ohio State University.
"Now, it [the military] seems like a viable option," said Harris, 25, two years after graduating from college. "I'll get more skills and more education." He is considering the Air Force or the Army.
The only military branch without noticeable college graduate gains is the Marine Corps.
Nearly 6,000 active-duty and reserve soldiers with bachelor's degrees joined the Army in 2010. That's 2,000 more than 2008.
The Navy enlisted 1,425 college graduates in 2010, up from just over 1,000 in 2008. The number of college graduates joining the Air Force increased from 553 in 2008 to more than 900 in 2010.
It is easier for college graduates to become officers because a degree is required and they get paid while the military helps pay their college debts, the report said.
"I've always had in the back of my head that it was either law school or working for the government," said Josh Gibson, 23. He is a 2009 graduate of Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. "I know the economy kind of pushed [my decision]."