Hacking Away at Two Hundred Thou of College Debt

To some she’s just a suburban kid asking for a handout. But Kelli Space, who graduated from Bloomfield High School in 2005 and from Northeastern University in 2009, sees herself more as an evangelist for awareness about the crushing burden of college debt.

Last June, Space set up a Tumblr site called “Two Hundred Thou,” asking people for donations to help her pay down her $200,000 college loans. Nothing much happened until she reached out to Gawker last November. Since the Gawker write-up she’s raised $10,430, which she’s applied straight to her debt, and attracted the attention of EduLender, a website that serves the college loan community, and which asked if they could host her site. That’s where “Two Hundred Thou” now lives.

Space, 24, who has a full-time job working as an office manager for internet company near Wall Street, has an $800/month debt payment that she says will balloon to $1,600 a month next November. She lives with her parents in Bloomfield.

Although she loved her experience as a sociology major at Northeastern, she now believes her decision to go there, utilizing college loans, was a mistake. Her education cost about $150,000 but, with interest, it’s up to $200,000. “It was nowhere near worth $200,000,” she says. “It might have been worth $20,000.” If she had it to do over, she says she’d go to community college for two years then transfer to someplace like Montclair State. But, she adds, “Tuition is high, even for public schools.”

With college debt expected to top $1 trillion this year — topping even credit card debt– Space says, “It’s definitely going to be the next crisis.”

“I think we should monitor how much we’re lending to 18-year-olds,” she adds.

She points out that while high school students get the message that they should go to the best college they can get into, they get nothing in the way of a personal finance education. She says her own high school guidance counselor suggested vaguely that she look into college loans.

“You get people high on these dreams of going to a great college,” she says. “Then in five years, they’re [Sallie Mae] going to hunt you down.”

Space says she was initially unprepared for the hostile comments from some complete strangers about her unconventional approach to paying down her college debt. Now she understands it comes with the territory, and she’s become philosophical about it. “I get what they’re saying,” she says. But she adds that she doesn’t expect anything from anybody. “You owe me nothing.”

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88 COMMENTS

  1. It’s definitely an impending financial crisis. Graduate college 200K plus in the red and no job market cannot sustain itself. People are not paying their loans back. I read recently that the cost health care and college tuition have risen the most during the financial crisis. Many of these colleges have hundreds of millions in endowments but not giving it up towards aid.
    There was a video I watched about all this and its scarey. Some lady was 400K in debt due to her dental education. She went back to the ‘Heartland’ as single mother to serve her community but just couldn’t get enough business and she defaulted her gov loans and as result the gov wouldn’t except any of her medicare claims as a penalty so she was really up the creek. I believe she was the only dentist in miles and without her people had nothing. Certainly a sob story but felt bad for her.

    I was just on Youtube because this is discussed at length in videos and there is also a few documentaries about it. Some guy posted this “Two years ago my balance was: $30,000. Now it is: $42,000 because I have been unemployed and have not even been able to make minimun payments due to the cost of living. In two years the federal government tacked on $10,000 in penalties”

    This is being discussed more and more and its obviously turning into a big problem.

  2. “To some she’s just a suburban kid asking for a handout.”

    Yes indeed. And coming from Bloomfield “Home of the Bucket Handouts” not even a little shocked.

  3. People who hate on her are simply pissed that they didn’t think of doing that themselves.

    If people donate to her loan pay-down, that’s on THEM, not her.

    Can’t blame a guy/gal for tryin’ — or — if you don’t ask, you don’t get!!

  4. I’m not sure how I feel about what she’s doing, but at least she is taking responsibility for herself and not expecting her parents to repay her loans. And she is working..

  5. Last I checked, if you rack up $200K in student loan debt then you are responsible for that debt.

    I put myself through college, including working a full-time 3AM-11:30AM shift and then carrying a full-time load of classes all afternoon. I’m not crying “victim” and asking for a handout. I worked my butt off and paid for every dollar of my education out of my own pocket.

    It sounds to me like this girl enjoyed her college life, living off the student loans, without thinking about how much she’d have to pay once she graduated. Whose fault is that?

    Thankfully, the laws have changed so that student loan debt cannot be forgiven in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Sadly, this appears to be just another case of the rampant “sense of entitlement” that is plaguing this country.

  6. “She is working” is important. Keep in mind that this is despite “no job market”. Then there’s this effort itself. This is a person of whom I think we can expect future success.

    As for the “crisis”, I wonder if the issue is really so much the cost of schooling (which is, admittedly, ridiculous) as the choice of major. Can one really expect to earn enough to repay loans with an undergraduate degree in sociology? The right science/engineering discipline might be a much better investment. And let’s be very clear: education – *any* education – is an investment of some sort.

    An interesting/related article is https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/opinion/31brooks.html . I don’t agree with much of what he wrote, but some of his ideas are interesting to consider in the context of Miss. Space’s experience at the larger issues of choosing an undergraduate major and post-graduate employment.

    …Andrew

  7. I’m with agideon; if you think that a undergraduate sociology major is worth $200k in debt or would let you service that debt, then you weren’t thinking.

    I also agree with hansmier in that if you voluntarily incur the debt, then it’s your responsibility to pay it off. I graduated with the equivalent of $108k in 2011 dollars of debt, which was at a much-higher interest rate (9%+) than most new grads have (and which was not tax deductible, even in part, at the time), and paid it all off myself. It would never have even occurred to me to ask perfect strangers to bail me out from the consequences of my own decisions.

  8. Raising awareness? Good line! Space has a bright future in public relations.

    Where were her parents when she agreed to take out all these loans? And where are they now? Let’s see the FAFSA.

  9. “Sadly, this appears to be just another case of the rampant “sense of entitlement” that is plaguing this country.”

    —that would be the same sense of entitlement that has all of us posting comments in judgment of other peoples’ lives?

  10. Good for her. Smart to ask for help. BUT….

    Didn’t she (or her parents) see the price tag of Northwestern before she went? It’s not like the cost isn’t listed. So…

    Sorry for her, but unless she 1) had the money, or 2) chose a major that earns, she’s brought this upon herself. See this for info on majors that earn: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/if-money-matters-this-report-is-a-major-deal/2011/05/23/AF7r459G_story.html?hpid=z3

    The one issue that is a DISGRACE is the amount of money Sallie Mae adds on beyond the initial loan amount in fees and such. THAT is criminal.

  11. “—that would be the same sense of entitlement that has all of us posting comments in judgment of other peoples’ lives?”

    No, jcunningham. IF you do not want folks to comment 1) don’t share, and 2) don’t share on a page that allows comments. If you do, don’t cry when folks don’t just shoot off moonbeams and rainbows at you.

    Obviously, this young woman is seeking more cash and is willing to take whatever jabs we might throw at her (she even anticipated this).

    So are we entitled to post, ah YEA. Why? Because there’s a little window that asks us to.

  12. Good comments, prof. It is actually Northeastern U, though.
    I have a nephew who attended there and an old neighbor who was a Northeastern alum. They both picked Northeastern because of the Co-op program that includes semesters of full-time employment in your career path which gave them practical experience and helped pay the tuition. I think that’s a more responsible solution to college debt than the begathon method.

  13. 200k in debt ? What a bleak future this generation faces. Tuition costs have outpaced inflation nearly 4-1 over the last thirty years, and college endowment funds are fatter than ever. Talk about a racket.

  14. Clever girl to ask in a High tech on line way. Too bad that wasn’t the focus of her very expensive education. However, she feeds into my observations that many students enter college without goals and often “waste” their time and money. I know, I know college grads make more $$ than high school only people. The good prof’s link once again supports this concept. This lucky young woman has found a job that’s outside her major and is typical of so many grads. So I continue to wonder about college drop out rates, expensive colleges and expectations for so many young people that just may be slightly off base.

  15. @PAZ Aside from an unimportant comment or two, I don’t see the Brooks article as being specific to any particular generation. But perhaps I’m missing something?

    I heard the same “baby-boomer theology” when I was in/graduating from undergrad, so that “theology” came from somewhere prior to the boomers.

    As I wrote, though, there’s a lot with which I disagree in that essay. The assumption that to commit to a spouse, for example, contradicts the idea of life’s limitless possibilities, is a reflection of a sad view of life. Having my family has greatly expanded my life’s horizons.

    Doing a job well is suppressing one’s self? Being part of a team, working through check-lists, etc. can be an expressive act. It takes a person confident of their independence to be capable of such collaboration w/o having some childish need to rebel.

    But there’s much with which I disagree in that “boomer theology” as well. Some passions can be found, but passion can also be created. Go through all of life with passion, and that passion will be the reward.

    …Andrew

  16. Strategic default–student loan style. Just don’t pay. Let the banks take a loss. Pay for things with cash. You won’t be buying a house anytime soon, but that’s ok by the time your credit improves, the market will likely have hit bottom.

    There’s no debtor jail. Be free.

  17. what a jerk! is anyone going to help me pay of MY student loans? oh no because thats my own responsiblity!

  18. @bebopgun Good point. I remember reading https://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/business/economy/09rich.html and being fascinated that this is more common amongst the wealthy. This would suggest that it’s a sound strategy for “wealth management”, presuming that the wealthy are better at being wealthy than the non-wealthy.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure that this is an option for student loans today. See https://chapter7lawyerblog.com/student-loansbankruptcy-and-no-good-news/

    …Andrew

  19. I think the young lady’s comments denigrating the cost of her college education are charmless. And classless.

    Really, you’re putting down the education you received in terms of what it cost you vs. your opinion (which is based on…?) of its actual value? And yet you wish others to help you pay down the debt you accrued acquiring this education? Honey, you do have an amazing amount of nerve.

    Were I even vaguely touched by her “plight,” however, I’d also be curious how much she earns as an office manager. And what, if anything, she pays to her parents in rent. What, too, happened to the money she presumably earned during her time out for co-op education (which Northeastern is justly famous for)?

    I’d prefer to give to something genuinely worthy, like, say, the Salvation Army. This doesn’t evince so much a mistaken sense of entitlement as it does arrant hucksterism. In that sense, and only in that sense, yes, she is a kind of “evangelist.” The worst kind.

  20. @bebopgun @agideon – Hi! Yes, you’re right, I cannot walk away from my student loans; they are legally allowed to garnish up to 60% of my wages, pretty much harass me & any acquaintance whose phone number they can get their hands on, and of course it affects me in other ways: credit, etc. Can’t discharge in bankruptcy (unlike mortgages or credit card debt). Student loans are indeed with you until you die. To be fair, federal loans are at least flexible, in comparison with completely rigid private loans.

  21. @sandwich This is why I expect Miss. Space to be successful. You ask a perfectly good question: “is anyone going to help me pay of MY student loans?” But instead of actually following through, as did Miss. Space, you follow this question with your own answer.

    You may not like what she’s done, but the fact is (1) she did it and (2) she’s getting some reward for it.

    …Andrew

  22. @sandwich – We’re all responsible for our own debt; but obviously there’s nothing *wrong* with asking for help! You can even set up your own site on edulender.com if you really wanted to. If not, I’m sure you’re doing a great job in making your payments, and that’s no small feat! Congrats.

  23. @cathar – I’m sorry you feel that way! I don’t consider myself an evangelist either way at all; on the contrary, I would love to see high school graduates get a great college education at minimal cost, so that they are not in crippling, insurmountable debt upon graduation. Education is key – very important indeed – but at $200k? Not so much. And as far as ‘classless’ – I would hope I am just viewed as asking for help where I can possibly get it, since I did in fact get myself into such a deep hole! Thanks for your comments!

  24. I’m having a hard time with this one. As a person who came from a family with absolutely no money, I had to take out student loans to go to college. I also knew that I had to go to a school I could afford. I worked two, sometimes 3 jobs, to pay for school so I could take out the least amount of loans possible. I knew that I would be responsible for paying back the loans with interest.

    I didn’t have family to help me out. Even when I moved back home for a bit, my parents made me pay them rent.

    I think that many kids today have parents who support them financially in a way that makes them have no work ethic or no value of money. When someone never has to work for something, they feel like a victim when they are forced to be responsible for their actions.

  25. @cathar I’m not sure why you find the comments about the value of her degree to be problematic. I can see plenty of other issues with what’s she’s doing, but the value of her degree seems to be pretty easily determined by “the market”. If she’s graduating with an expensive degree and has no way to leverage that into a job that pays well enough to recover that investment, then I’d opine that there’s something wrong with the investment in that degree.

    True, as others have pointed out, it was her choice to make the investment. As I wrote, there are issues here. But statements about the value of the investment seem pretty well founded.

    …Andrew

  26. You might consider getting cash advances on a bunch of credit cards and paying off (or at least paying down) your student loans with that money, then filing for bankruptcy to shed the cc loans.

  27. @walleroo – I think I’m just a young person in the midst of a pretty scary situation! Obviously of my own doing – but scary nonetheless.

  28. Agideon, I just generally think a 24-year-old, wherever he or she attended college, has neither the “right” nor the ability to assess the value of his/her college education. This takes seasoning, so to speak. (Nor do I think anyone should, say, be ashamed of work as an office manager for an internet company. Or even of serving rippers at Rutt’s Hut.)

    Who, for that matter, is responsible for Ms. Peace’s sociology major?

    In any event, it’s way too late for her premature form of “hindsight,” no?

    There’s a great line in Neil Simon’s “Max Dugan Returns,” where Max’s grandson tells him he’s thinking of majoring in philosophy when he goes to college. “But can you make any money majoring in philosophy?,” the kid wants to know.

    “Depends on your philosophy,” Max Dugan replies.

  29. I don’t like the idea of asking strangers to help me with debt that I incurred. It’s not as if she lost her home and belongings in a fire, God forbid. She simply can’t pay her bills. I feel for her but there are a lot of people in the same boat: people who bought homes before the market went belly-up, for example. Many have had to walk away, losing their homes in the process. So what makes her different?

    If someone wants to contribute to her, fine, it’s their choice, of course.

    It’s unfortunate that she didn’t look into a less expensive college or choose to delay college until she could afford it. It’s not a sin to not go to college straight after high school!

    As you can see, I have mixed feelings on this. I feel bad for her debt but I disagree with her methods of recouping it.

  30. The lender also has responsibility in this. They took a risk. The responsibility is not just on the borrower. There are no risk free loans–for the bank or borrower.

    I’d say with the social contract in shreds and bankruptcy a strategy of the well-heeled, don’t pay.

    Start working for cash somewhere so your wages won’t be garnished.

  31. @Georgette Gilmore Indeed, what you describe is something that catches me too. To fall K$200 into debt w/o consideration of how this would be paid back seems like a fairly serious error. But I’ve trouble making the leap from this to “no work ethic” as she is managing to work in the current job market. That’s a nontrivial feat, no? More, while I may have missed it, I haven’t seen any text where Miss. Space has been blaming others for her error. So I don’t see the avoidance of responsibility or sense of victimization to which you refer.

    One of my roles in life requires me to evaluate certain people that have done “something dumb”. One of the determinations I need to make is whether this was a mistake that won’t be repeated or a symptom of a more serious and systemic problem in the person’s judgement or attitude.

    You’re seeing the latter here, clearly. I’m not yet ready to conclude that, though I’ve not discounted the possibility either.

    …Andrew

  32. Let’s really start a battle: Why, in this country that has the greatest economy in the world (unless China beat us already, but why quibble), I say again, why shouldn’t higher education be availabe for free at every level for every student who qualifies academically? What would we have to do to afford that? Tax some corporations and/or billionaires some more? Tax internet purchases? Run a Federal Lottery? End a couple of wars and some monumentally stupid tax deferments for businesses and products? (E) All of the above? And while we are at it, why don’t we provide free, basic medical care for the entire population? I think we could afford that, too, if we took away some very financially rewarding programs that only benefit a small group of people and businesses. Oh, that’s socialism? So what? Does it provide for a healthier, more educated populace? Isn’t that what we want?

  33. “Does it provide for a healthier, more educated populace? Isn’t that what we want?”

    Yes it is what most people want, but it is not what those in charge want.

  34. “Yes it is what most people want, but it is not what those in charge want.”

    Then let’s put them out of being in charge.

  35. @Cathar I’m afraid that I disagree with what I believe is your premise that one cannot determine the value of a degree w/o “seasoning”. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that – ideally – an 18 year old would make at least an approximate determination of the value of a degree before investing in said degree. It is by her failure to do this, in fact, that Miss. Space put herself into this situation.

    Clearly, it is unfortunate that she sees the value of her degree only in hindsight. You seem to be in agreement with this, which suggests that you feel that one should evaluate a degree’s value earlier (as I’ve opined here). Yet you also wrote that such a determination requires more “seasoning”. So I’m a bit puzzled as to your perspective regarding when one may/should make such a determination.

    Being required to make this determination early while only being able to make this determination later sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    …Andrew

  36. agideon,

    In a comment, Kelli states:

    “I cannot walk away from my student loans; they are legally allowed to garnish up to 60% of my wages, pretty much harass me & any acquaintance whose phone number they can get their hands on, and of course it affects me in other ways: credit, etc.”

    It sounds like she is taking the victim role here.

    I should say, that I think the cost of higher education has gotten way out of hand.

  37. @Georgette Gilmore – I was responding to a piece of advice from bebop stating I should walk away from these loans. I was explaining the consequences of that.

  38. @Conan Doesn’t Miss. Space’s plight describe exactly why simply making higher education free wouldn’t achieve much? Even if she hadn’t her debt as a result of that education, she’d still have been the recipient of a degree with a very limited market value. The only difference is that “society” would have invested in it rather than Miss. Space. There’d still be insufficient return on the investment.

    I’d prefer a different approach, where *some* degrees are offered in exchange for a commitment to use that degree in some predefined way for some predefined time. I believe that some medical schools do something of this sort, where student loans are forgiven for new physicians that practice in under-served areas.

    …Andrew

  39. Well, agideon, you are talking with a Philosophy major with a minor in Art History and a third-degree black belt in Satire, so you should know where I’m coming from. But I think you have a good handle on how to set-up an education program that encourages students to enter certain fields. Many kids really don’t know what field they want to enter when they start college. I think the most important part of one’s first two years should be learning how to learn. Makes what comes after a lot easier. To fix this problem, we first have to discover cui bono with the present system. It is probably loaning institutions, lobbyists, lobbied members of government, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and the rest of the Usual Suspects. Then tax the living merde out of them to pay for Kelli’s education. What would it cost them? A boat payment or two, c’mon…

  40. Agideon, it’s kind of like the old joke about how, when you’re round 20 or so, you pretty much think your old man is an idiot. But when you reach 40, you’re amazed by how much the old duffer has learned over the last 20 years.

    Could you truly assess the value of your own education round 23, let alone 18? I certainly couldn’t. Not least because I was in Nam as a grunt at age 23. (But then, I also thought I’d actually majored in beer drinking through age 22.) Yet Ms. Peace seems dead positive her Northeastern education is only worth about $20,000, not $200,000. I respectfully suggest she wait a bit on this one, that’s all. For her to speak otherwise seems awfully presumptuous, that’s all. In fact, there’s a kind of slipperiness to her overall tone in her e-mails above which I find unsettling.

    Conan, I might agree with your remarks on a free higher education. It’s already sort of like that in the UK; certainly the cost for all to attend either Oxford or Cambridge, or even a “red-brick university,” is the same whatever one’s income level. But the UK is a very different economy than ours and has traditionally had a very different take on these matters.

    Through it all, however, Ms. Peace remains a hustler.

  41. @Conan I deeply disagree that one should spend the first two years of college “learning how to learn”. What happened to primary education?

    As for kids not knowing into what field they want to go: Why go then? Why not put college off until one does have a good idea? I started undergrad because it was expected; no other possibility was even considered. I hated it. I left. When I returned – same school, same major – I *loved* it. Maybe I just needed the break? Maybe I needed to rediscover my love for the major I’d chosen? My hindsight is insufficiently far-sighted so I just don’t know. But I do believe that, at least for some, the rush to undergrad is a mistake.

    Of course, the current job market for HS graduates doesn’t really help people choose this path. I don’t know the answer to that. But wasting two years on learning what should have been learned before doesn’t seem like an efficient use of the student’s time, anyone’s money, or the school’s resources.

    …Andrew

  42. And Conan, whether it’s my taxes or those of some sort of mogul-in-training at Goldman Sachs which would go to support the college education of someone like Ms. Peace, I’d definitely insist that she learn something of the social niceties incumbent on someone who attends college via a session at the public teat.

    Again, as far as I can tell the lady is classless

  43. @walleroo Thanks! I don’t think I’ve quite that ability to profit from failure, but I have enough sense to respect the skill.

    …Andrew

  44. Kelli, It took me YEARS to pay back my student loans but I did it on my own. I worked so many crazy jobs and crazy hours(nothing illegal and I kept my top on). I did not know the meaning of 9-5 for 10 years after I graduated from college. And now going forward in life I have all of those experiences and my dignity.

    If this is the scariest thing you have to deal with in life consider your self blessed!!!

  45. @Cathar I’m not following your reasoning. The market is fairly clearly describing the value of @kellispace’s degree. For what should she wait? As she gets more work experience, that will dilute her education’s contribution to her value.

    Even this bit of “social engineering” in which she’s engaged has likely increased her value, though I admit it raises enough questions about her character that there could also be some negative impact.

    …Andrew

  46. Agideon, where on earth do you get the idea that “the market” is telling Ms. Peace the value of her degree? How would either of us know? How does she in fact know? Where does she, a relative whelp in such matters, get off deciding that her four years at Northeastern amounted at best to $20,000 worth of education?

    For that matter, I’ve known former philosophy majors who were, respectively, a telemarketer, a bartender and a managing director at an investment bank. None would have the gall to put any kind of price on the real value of their college educations. All struck me as rather happy in their career choices, too.

    And as Ms. Peace matures (and let us use this word, since she probably could use mucho maturation, her callowness is apparent), perhaps she’ll even begin to understand that the true value of a college education should be measured both after decades of life experience and not necessarily solely in a dollar figure. I hate to sound so idealistic, but still…

    Old New Yorker cartoon, showing what is apparently a college campus with a banner in the back reading “Welcome, Class of…”. On the steps of a typical Greek revival-type building sit a lot of Bowery Bum-looking sorts, passing round bottles. And one is saying to another, “I used to think it was just me. But maybe the school’s just no damned good.”

  47. Uggg…”Yourself”. Part of my point is that your debt may be a “scary situation” but it is something that you alone can fix and you should.

    All we learn from putting our hand out is….well just that, how to put your hand out.

  48. What do you “learn” from putting your hand out? That someone will invariably put $1 in it! And why not?

    So many here are sounding so high and mighty about this.
    I say good for her!
    She had the smarts & guts to try something different!Plus she’s out working and not just sitting on the couch.

    **If people were turned off by her actions, no one would contribute!!!

    C’mon folks – let’s give her an atta girl for thinking outside the box!

  49. My folks didn’t qualify for financial aid back in the ’80s (oh wait, I lied … yes we did… like $500 a year.) – they were told to re-mortgage the house (at rates that were something like 14-15% back then) so that I could go to school. The problem was that the family income wouldn’t have even covered the mortgage payment. Once I realized that commuting in my gas guzzler to the university that did accept me would cost more than I made in a week, I ended up at my nearby community college. For $70 – complete – I took a full course load. I was working at the same time. While I enjoyed those days immensely, it was a colossal waste of time. The classes weren’t even as challenging as my HS courses had been only six months earlier and I was bored to death. I took off the following semester and worked full time in fast food, saving up for a better car, which I got. Then realized I still should be in college, so I again loaded up with 15 credits (all at night) while working full time during the day. (sigh… I had so much energy back then!) College was fun and a piece of cake, but boring and uninspiring. I felt like I was back in HS the entire time.

    The clincher was when my smarty-friends were coming back from UCLA with degrees accomplished in less than 4 years (I did say they were smart!) and then working at the gas station or Denny’s. I was disgusted and quit again. I went to work full time, moved out, and never looked back.

    I have been very fortunate to get where I am without that Almighty Paper. But I also know I’m going nowhere else for the next 25 years.

    Maybe all colleges should be non-profit (if they aren’t already?) It seems like many of them are just in it to make money – how do they have the nerve to send recruiting brochures to my high school Freshman – starting *Last Year*!?? Do they have a quota to meet in order to pay their bills? Do they suddenly realize, “oh crud, we have to pay for that new (football stadium, theater, parking lot) – let’s make sure we get 1000 more students than last year, and give out fewer scholarships? Or let’s get 15 year olds to commit now by sending in a check for $9,000?”

    ??

    And frankly I think most kids should stay local and do the basics while still at home. (Yeah yeah, let them grow up and be responsible, yada yada. Can’t tell you how many kids I know who went away to college and totally blew it.) Get a job, balance their lives and finances, then they will be a little more prepared to go away to finish the last two years of their bachelors degree.

  50. @cathar – They might not have had the ‘gall’ to put on a price on their education… because their education did not cost them $200k in borrowed money. I’m not saying education is worthless – AGAIN, I believe it to be invaluable. But I probably could have gotten that education for a lot cheaper, and should have. I recognize my mistake. I surely appreciate my education and look back on my years at Northeastern as enjoyable, valuable, etc. – but again if I could go back I would not have spent $200k.

  51. By your line of thinking, Caphilly, we should ALL set up Paypal accounts or whatnot and have people contribute to our very own “worthy causes.” Having trouble paying your mortgage? Need someone to help finance your liposuction or boob job? Want to vacation in Hawaii but having trouble financing it? All is fair game!

    While we’re all posting videos:

    https://www.hulu.com/watch/1389/saturday-night-live-dont-buy-stuff

  52. Should not College education be free for the qualified? Would that not maximize the general productivity of society?

    Or should every niche of society be profit oriented? Healthcare, education, government, trade, research etc?

  53. Hey yalls! Read a internet article abt the suffering of Kelly Spaceys. Apparently she got “hosed” in a college “scam” and owes millions of dollars in fees to some bro in Nigeria. Rlly confused. Always thought college bros and broads were “smarter” than average humans. Thinking that Kelly Spaceys was prolly chill to partee whenevs. Scared that she will get “sad” if she doesn’t get a relevant job that lets her use her “creativity”. Wondering if she will end up on the wrong side of the law selling “drugs”(via Mission Street).

    H8 u Nigerian scammer!
    <3 u Kelly Spaceys!

    Ne ways, did u ever move back in with ur parents after college, and feel a lot of weird vibes because of their expectations for ur life, and ur lack of conformity to society's antiquated norms? Do your parents truly “love you for YOU” or do they just love the person who they think u r? If u started to grow the sweet danky dank in a “greenhouse” would they kick u the eff out?

    Do 20somethings need to “get their sh*t together”?
    Will Gen Y “retire” without a retirement fund?
    Should we all just continue trying to be bloggers/social media gurus/buzzband members, instead of getting jobs as teachers/insurance agents/bank tellers?
    Will there be some sort of "Recession of Chill" when 20somethings don't accomplish their dreams?

  54. It’s particularly galling to think that banks have already gotten bailed out from making bad decisions on loans. They convinced W and then O they were too big to fail and got a handout.

    There’s your problem Kelli, you’re not TBTF.

  55. @Cathar The market is telling her (Ms. Peace? Not Miss. Space?) what it is willing to pay for her services with that degree. Admittedly, she would need to know her value before the degree to discern fully the value added by the degree. But given the difficulty in making her payments – along with the fact that she’s working outside her field – she might be able to assume a pre-degree value of zero and still arrive at a fairly low valuation for her degree.

    Assuming she’s not deliberately choosing to earn less money than she could for some reason, I’d say she’s being given a pretty clear signal of the market’s valuation of her degree.

    I think you’re stuck on the idea that college offers some abstract value beyond that which can be measured in financial terms. This may be so, but then one wouldn’t measure that in financial terms. When considering value in financial terms, something is worth what it brings in.

    *Laugh* Clearly the education is worth $200,000 to the school, since it manages to charge that much for it. But it’s apparently not worth that much at least to this student.

    …Andrew

  56. Living rent-free at home saves you at least $1000 a month you can send in to pay off your student loan debt. Take a second job waiting tables or bartending and start sending all that cash towards your debt. You’re young. Hell, work THREE jobs, if you can.

    Look kiddo, you need to buckle down and pay off your own debts. Asking for handouts is demeaning, pointless and nothing more than a gimmick that’s been beaten to death by previous cute chickadees complaining about their mistakes and playing the victim and throwing themselves at society, hoping for a bailout.

    But please, stop this whole “oh poor me” charade. It’s pathetic and beneath you. honestly, I expected more from today’s youth but I guess I was wrong.

  57. @hansmeier Working additional jobs seems a bit out of synch with the current job market. Or am I wrong about that? I was fairly impressed that she was working at all, but perhaps entry-level jobs are easier to find than the news portrays?

    Also, she’s not necessarily saving $1000 by living at home, even if she pays no rent. Can she afford $1000/month rent? I’d guess not (though I don’t really know, of course). Assuming not, she’d probably find an inexpensive place with at least one room mate.

    …Andrew

  58. Since grad school for me was completely financed
    ( being a middle class kid from Queens with parents who hit their budget limit )
    I took out my share of student loans.
    Fortunately, I bought a brownstone in Carroll Gardens in 1984 with my first wife, with 10% down ( 15k was 10% down in those days – but would be 1% of the current market value) , and we lived on the top floor and rented the rest of it to nice folks happy to pay between 250 and 400 a month for a floor thru with wide pine plank floors and access to the narrow but peaceful yard.
    It turned out that the building appreciated rapidly, so we refinanced along the way to match the market, but the banks insisted that the refi “take out” the outstanding college loan balance. That’s when bankers had vision and humanity.
    Now loan officers are as timid as worms and as lazy as sloths.
    Watch out Mr. Loan Officer, a robin will be glad to have you for breakfast unless a trendy city with a sloth pen gets you first.

  59. While I’m still sympathetic and don’t have a problem with her trying to raise money this way, I’m still surprised at how shocked she is about the amount she has to pay back.

    Didn’t she notice after the first year that there was a 50K charge? At what point do you sit back and ask: how am I going to pay this back? At graduation seems too late.

    As for Majors, many schools don’t allow kids to “major” or if they do, students still have to take about 2 years of “General education.” It is, hopefully, here- taking classes that he or she may be exposed to something that they never imagined they’d want to spend the rest of their lives doing. I think this is the best plan.

    Having taught college kids for over 15 years, nothing scares me more than a kid who KNOWS what they want to do for the rest of their lives– granted,for some rarely, this IS true– for most, it’s not.

    Those first few years should be a time of experimentation and discovery. (At a school you can afford…)

  60. Good timing Spiro. I’ve met my share of Baristavillians who cashed in their NYC apartments for houses in the burbs. Pretty amazing.

  61. @profwilliams My undergrad is in an engineering discipline. I wouldn’t say that I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life back then – and I’m still not sure. Fortunately, my field doesn’t seem to have matured any more than I have. It is in constant flux, and I get to play in that.

    For different reasons than you, I think, I agree with you that having a good “basic education” core within any curriculum is a good thing. Even we engineers should know how to read and write and participate in society, after all.

    I’m still not sure that two years of “experimentation” is really that good an investment, though. Similarly, I’m not sure how much depth one can acquire in any field given only four semesters. If one measures “depth” of a class by the length of the chain of prerequisites, that’s a maximum depth of three. That just doesn’t seem like much to me.

    …Andrew

  62. Hi Martta Rose – yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Some people have actually done that. And, why not? No law against it, either morally or legally. It’s a fantastic idea. And if people are so moved to donate to pay someone’s mortgage for example,then that’s up to them.

    There’s no real honor in carrying a burden yourself if others are willing to help you lift it. We’re simply not raised to think like that and so we “suffer” in silence. While others – who are bolder – give it a shot and ask for exactly what they want. Sometimes they fail and some are successful.

    Either way, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And she’s $10k ahead!

  63. @agideon, At most schools, the UG core is about half of the total credits needed (at some the distribution might be Core: 60 credits, Major 40, 20 left over for a minor or for use with a double major).

    Within that, 2 years of experimentation- by which I simply mean taking courses other than those you “think” you will “need” for some career you don’t yet understand.

    I was a business major, but took an art class that changed my life (and made me realize that I’d rather spend time with artists than business folks, though at times they too get boring…). mrs. prof however, always knew what she’d do- it was a calling- and she never strayed from that course.

    Still, taking 2 years of Core courses makes one well-rounded. THIS is perhaps the most important thing that a kid should strive for. Though for too many ’round these parts, if a kid isn’t committed to a life pursuit by age 10 something is wrong.

    I much prefer a kid with lots of interests and no real idea who goes to school, takes different classes, meets different people and allows for him or herself to discover what they like with an eye towards the cost of school/job earning.

    I’m old fashioned.

    Here though, she went into college KNOWING the cost, and KNOWING the job prospects. That she still continued with the school/major and now is saddled with debt is, entirely, her fault.

    But I think she knows this.

  64. I couldn’t say it any better than the prof above, so I’ll let that rest.

    Several schools, among them some of the top tier (Harvard, Princeton, et al) actively discourage double majors in the belief that students should be compelled to test the waters in fields that perhaps aren’t to their “liking”. Let an Englsih major take a biology course. Let a chemistry major take a Russian history course. This is, to my mind, what higher education is all about. At what other time in life will one have these options? Why must one KNOW, at age 20, the road they’ll follow for the rest of their life?

    When I’m king, high school will end at 17. There will then be 2 years of community or military service, and college for those who want it will commence at 19. Those who do not want to go on to college will enter vocational training which will lead to a real, nationally recognized certificate in electronics, carpentry, auto mechanics, etc. I will sit back on my throne and bask in the adulation of my employed, fulfilled subjects.

  65. I think you’ll need a wench, croi, as you sit back on your throne.

    There’s nothing wrong with a kid that knows what she wants to do when she enters college–many doctors knew from the first day of undergrad that they wanted to be premed. And there is nothing wrong with not knowing, either. I’m like, on my, like, third career and I’m only 29. And wildly successful. I did go to a liberal arts college in which I was required to take core courses and I loved them all–Religion & Fantasy (Dragonlance meet CS Lewis), Philosophy, Caribbean Lit, although I could have gone without Medieval Hx. Can you say bo-ring? But I’m with prof on this one–keep an open mind and get a well-rounded education.

    I can’t say that Kelli’s actions are admirable yet she does not make my blood boil like she does for dear ol’ wally. I do think her message is an important one, though: that 18 year-olds need to be better informed about the consequences of those enormous loans. There is no shame in going to a community college and then transferring to a local university if you work hard. Who knows, you may even end up with someone as fine as the good profwilliams.

  66. georgette: victim? Really? I am sorry, way out of line and I fail to see the connection. ANY connection.

    Wa, wa, wa. Lots of us grew up with no money for college and managed it one way or another. You and I took one route, and Kelli another. Posting a simple request as she did, or stating the lack of financial guidance provided to HS students does not make her a victim. That was her experience.

    People doing different things with life is what makes our society so great. Just imagine how boring life would be filled with responsible people who only took the safe route all the time.

    While I would never be able to take out loans of this magnitude for an under grad degree Kelli has had an experience I am truly envious of. To have studied and lived at such a great school for 4 years was something I dreamed of while working full time and studying on the job at age 20.

  67. There will be no death penalty in the kingdom, prof. Though reeducation camps will be operated in some suitably grim locale.

    Like Clifton, for example.

  68. Wow! This is creative but I’d rather donate to poor people in Haiti or Mexico or anywhere else where they don’t have a roof over their heads or made a choice/decision and feel their mistake should be rewarded because they didn’t know the consequences.

    I applaud her degree, etc. but the debt is part of college learning – growing up is a PITA.

  69. when I read Georgette’s comment yesterday, I felt an enormous amount if respect for her. I’m sure it was not easy to work three jobs and go to school at the same time. I guess that sums up my feeeling about this whole issue.. While I don’t vehemently object to what Kelli is doing, it doesn’t inspire in the same way as someone who takes responsibility and works hard for what they have.

  70. Oooh! Oooh! Croi!! When you are King, we can finally have that prison planet/desert island we talked about a few months ago! I nominate Conan, Prof and Roo for the sorting panel. And I would be honored to serve on your cabinet as Minister of Driving Skills and Common Courtesy. (I don’t have a degree in that, but my life experience should count for something…) You don’t have to pay me, just teach me to speak Irish and we’ll call it even.

  71. @profwilliams So when you write “two years of experimentation”, you don’t mean two years exclusively of experimentation, but instead mean that about half the credits are outside the major? Given that, I think we’re in agreement.

    …Andrew

  72. When I first read about this on Gawker, I gave her a donation. I give her alot of credit for asking for help with an overwhelming burden.

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