Ridiculous Student Debt is Entirely Optional

Aug 11 2019 /

Guest Writer Rob Sussman, Delaware 105.9

Last month, CNBC wrote a blisteringly tone-deaf article about how more and more college students are borrowing sums well into the six-digits to go to school.

The article profiled Elisha Bokman, a woman nearly $500,000 in debt thanks to her entirely useless degree in “naturopathic medicine” from the almost entirely fake “Bastyr University” school of quackery in Washington state. Surprise surprise, she can’t find a job as a naturopathic “doctor” hocking pseudoscientific nonsense to the gullible, and her financial situation caused her marriage to collapse. All of this is entirely her fault.

Getting an almost hilariously useless degree in a fake field of study aside (mine is in “Mass Communication”. I know that those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones), this level of student loan debt is entirely avoidable and in no way should these outliers be the focus of the national conversation on student loan debt.

Yes. The cost of college is ridiculous. No, that shouldn’t be acceptable. But with changing times there MUST be a change in how we define the “college experience”.

Here’s the thing about college: it can actually be marginally affordable if you do it the right way. If you go to community college (where they hand out tuition waivers like candy) for two years, and then transfer to a four year in-state school for the last two, you can get a four year degree for less than 10k-20k in some cases. People don’t do this for a lot of various terrible reasons such as:

“I want the REAL college experience” — this is a lie told by the baby boomer generation that people are still falling for. Imagine spending $30,000 more because you wanted to underage drink and hit on sorority girls for two years in between classes that you could have took at the local college for the same credit. All while living with three other guys in a corner dorm and changing your major twice. The “college experience” your parents had was doable back when tuition was $40 a credit hour. It’s not anymore. You’re going to have to have your own college experience.

“Ewww community college that’s just high school part two”. You’re 18. You just graduated. You don’t have to care about some dumb high school popularity contest the moment after you get your diploma. Your classmates are going off to a Private Out-of-State University and getting stuck with six digit undergrad degrees while you’re out of there with functionally the same degree for a tenth of the cost once you’re 22.
“Ewww in-state schools are for homebody losers afraid to leave their hometowns”. Same as above. Cool. You want to go to a school nine hours from home where you know nobody because, I don’t know, you want to be oh so worldly and cultured. Cool, I hope feeling cultured and traveled is worth that double tuition. Hopefully at your 10 year high school reunion you will get a massive endorphin rush when you tell people you went to Purdue, but your classmate that went to Delaware State has already paid off his loan.
If you follow this advice you will, yes, probably still be paying off your student loan well into
your 30s, but your monthly payment is probably going to be extremely manageable and, hey, some of your contemporaries will be paying off theirs well into their 60s. You’ll be in a pretty good spot and have no regrets ten years down the line.

Notably this advice partains almost exclusively to undergraduate degrees. If you decide to go further in your educational career, make sure it’s in a field in which you can get some return on investment. What I’m saying is don’t ever study “naturopathic medicine” at “Bastyr University”. I can’t believe I even have to write that.

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