It seems even the New York Times is beginning to notice that the “everyone gets a trophy” approach doesn’t work out so well when applied to higher education.

College Fix Editor Nathan Harden reports.

Degree Inflation: B.A. Now Required Even for File Clerks

The New York Times is running a story today on a problem that we all know exists. And it seems to be getting worse, not better.

The college degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma–increasingly, it’s a basic requirement for jobs that actually do not require advanced education. And all of the debt and time that goes into obtaining a degree is a burden that even low-paid office workers must now bear.

Imagine racking up $30,000 in college debt so that you can get a $10 per hour job as an office courier. When will the madness end? Here’s an excerpt:

Consider the 45-person law firm of Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh here in Atlanta, a place that has seen tremendous growth in the college-educated population. Like other employers across the country, the firm hires only people with a bachelor’s degree, even for jobs that do not require college-level skills.

This prerequisite applies to everyone, including the receptionist, paralegals, administrative assistants and file clerks. Even the office “runner” — the in-house courier who, for $10 an hour, ferries documents back and forth between the courthouse and the office — went to a four-year school.

“College graduates are just more career-oriented,” said Adam Slipakoff, the firm’s managing partner. “Going to college means they are making a real commitment to their futures. They’re not just looking for a paycheck.”

Economists have referred to this phenomenon as “degree inflation,” and it has been steadily infiltrating America’s job market. Across industries and geographic areas, many other jobs that didn’t used to require a diploma — positions like dental hygienists, cargo agents, clerks and claims adjusters…

You have to ask yourself: Why?