"Paying for College" series on NPR (or, the apparent riches of PhD studies in English)

There’s been an interesting series on NPR “All Things Considered” this week about how people can pay for college. The usual sorts of problems are here, problems that are all too common here at EMU, where most of our students work to pay for their school, and even then, they frequently can only afford to go part-time. It’s hard, no question about it.

But the thing that really caught my ear was this afternoon’s story. Part of the story including them talking with a woman who was working on her PhD in English at Howard University. She seemed normal enough, but then she said something that made me wonder, well, what things were like in her dream world. I don’t know if this is an exact quote, but it’s something like this:

“Right now, I’m about $60,000 in debt. But I’m planning on getting a professorship and I am planning on paying that all off in my first year.”

As John Stewart might say, “WHHHHHAAAAAHAAAAAA?????!!!!!!?????”

I really REALLY hope that this quote sounded as ridiculous as it did because of something NPR did when they put the story together (like this woman said right after saying that “yeah, right! ha-ha!”). Because otherwise, this person is either getting some incredibly bad advise or she’s just self-deluded. Or maybe I’ve just been applying for the wrong kind of jobs teaching English….

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