Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paying for Useless Majors

There's an article in the New York Times that once again solidifies for me that no one wants to take any responsibility for their own decisions these days.  The article is called "Placing the Blame as Students are Buried in Debt" and it profiles the story of Cortney Munna, who has racked up $97,000 in student loan debt after four years at NYU.  Now that she's got the degree and has borrowed the money, it suddenly occurred to her that she has to pay it back.  With the economy being what it is, she has had trouble finding work.  The article goes on to ask who is at fault for giving her so much money?  The school?  The government?  Citibank?  Herself?

After getting near the end of the entire two page article, I finally found the information I was looking for:
She recently received a raise and now makes $22 an hour working for a photographer. It’s the highest salary she’s earned since graduating with an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women’s studies. After taxes, she takes home about $2,300 a month. Rent runs $750, and the full monthly payments on her student loans would be about $700 if they weren’t being deferred, which would not leave a lot left over.

Emphasis added by me.  She's now making about $27,600 a year after taxes.  My question to Ms. Munna is:  what did you expect to make with a degree in religious and women's studies?  Did you think that was going to be a high earning degree?  Being a math and science person, I've never understood why people spend so much money on degrees that are essentially useless in the real world.  Here's an idea, if you are interested in religion and women's studies, read books, attend lectures, and make it your hobby.  When it comes to a major, go for accounting, math, computer science, business, or engineering.

And of course now she wants a do-over:
Ms. Munna understands this tough love, buck up, buckle-down advice. But she also badly wants to call a do-over on the last decade. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back,” she said. “It feels wrong to me.”     
Well, it feels wrong to me that you were even able to get a college degree from NYU when you didn't have the intelligence to consider how you were going to pay the loans back, or the intelligence to choose a major that would enable you to pay the loans back. 

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