You’re Still an Idiot Even After College

It’s amazing what people think a college education can do. That getting a college degree will help you in the real world and help you acquire common sense. Unfortunately, it does nothing of the sort. Take Kelli Space who graduated with a sociology degree. It’s not the degree I have an issue with perse, but it’s the amount of debt. For her undergraduate degree at Northeastern University she spent a whopping $200,000! I know of newly minted doctors and lawyers who’ve spent less than that amount. Yes, that’s more than the median home price in the United States.

According to the article, her debt payment is $891 and will balloon up to $1,600/month next November. To help aid in paying off this massive debt, she’s opted to do what everyone in their 20′s now does.  She setup a web site with her plea. I’m not sure who’s the bigger sucker, Kelli for spending $200k on a sociology degree or the individuals who donated over $6,000 to her cause.  Maybe I should put up a web site to help fund my new car.  She states she created the web site “mainly to inform others on the dangers of how quickly student loans add up”.  I give her an ‘A’ for effort, but an ‘F’ in common sense. The goal should be to effectively pick a major that will recoup the amount of debt incurred for higher education. After all, paying for higher education is investing in your future. If you got that scholastic piece of paper with your name on it, make sure you can make more money with it.

You may ask what exactly can you get with a sociology degree? That’s a good question. I had to look it up because I did not know myself.  Basically nothing. The list appears to be low entry-level positions that previously you didn’t need a college level education. According to this web page, the average annual salary for a sociology major is $35,173. A salary that isn’t impossible to make in four years without a college education, and the additional benefit of no debt. I think it’s also safe to say the advancement in salary with a sociology degree can’t be that great. A doctor’s salary is definitely not going to happen. I’m not going to spend the effort to calculate the time it would take to pay off her debt, but it’s pretty safe to assume it will take 10+ years.

Mind you, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get a college education. The fact of the matter is with the high cost of education, specific majors, and career paths – it may not make sense to go to college. Everyone’s situation is different. Some might be better off going to a trade school, others maybe not going to college at all. For me getting a computer science degree helped me tremendously. Though the mantra of yesteryear, you should always get a college degree doesn’t make sense.

Keep in mind, a college education may make you book smart, but it won’t make you street smart. Realize the sole purpose of getting a higher education is to advance your income. Like all other investments you should consider your ROI (Return Of Investment). If it takes over 10 years to recoup payment on a higher education, you either you need to:

  1. Select another major with higher income potential.
  2. Chose a cheaper college.

When my children get close to college age, we will definitely have this discussion. If I had to pick between a $200k sociology degree, or using the money to invest in a business, I would choose starting a business in a heartbeat. Granted starting a business does not ensure success. Even if they lost all of the $200,000 investment, the education from running a business would be priceless. I’m sure much more than from a sociology degree.


  1. retirebyforty says:

    200k in the hole with a sociology degree in this economy? Good luck to Kelly. I’m definitely for choosing a cheaper college especially for a Sociology degree. If we’re talking MBA, I would go for the best college available to make connection.

  2. Car Negotiation Coach says:

    I read that article today as well and was not surprised.

    I strongly believe that the educational system will be radically shifted with 5-10 years. Who knows, maybe a bubble burst will start the shift.

    At any rate, I think shorter degrees (2 years) will become the norm along with more trade schools and technical programs. And liberal arts will go out the window. 2 years of liberal arts for a bachelors degree does help round out an individual, but is it really worth the extra expense when times are so tight? Probably not.

  3. Evan says:

    What’s worse that degree or a degree in art history (given the same amount of debt)?

    Who would hire her?! If I googled her name as a future employer all I would see is someone who doesn’t think about consequences and would be quick to sue me for a buck

    • Investor Junkie says:

      Good point Evan. I never thought about this. Unfortunately people do say too much on the Interwebs. She does state she’s fully responsible for her actions. I still don’t get what’s the point of her site other than to beg for money.

  4. Financial Samurai says:

    If she can afford it, why not right?

    Nobody does something they can’t afford and they find rewarding.

  5. Financial Samurai says:

    I’m actually so impressed she’s raised $7,000!

    Despite all my efforts, I’ve only been able to raise $1,350 for the December Yakezie Scholarship, and not everybody from the Network has donated either. Perhaps it just takes time!

    I’m gonna try and get some fundraising tips from her!

    • Investor Junkie says:

      Damn, she’s up to $7,500 now. It was $6,300 the other day. There must be a lot of dumb people in the world. For all we know she is living high on the hog with that money and buying other things on credit.

  6. Darwin's Money says:

    Great title. But this woman was actually kind of an idiot – before college. The decision was made to take on massive debt with little high-pay career prospects. It’s good to highlight and instill this reality check in young people and parents guiding their children though. Unless you’re a trust-fund kid, probably better pick a more lucrative major to pay off that debt.

  7. Joe Plemon says:

    I sometimes ask myself, “If everyone did what I am doing, what kind of world would we be living in?”

    If everyone got a lame college degree, $200 K debt and begged others to bail them out, we all would be in trouble.

    Even if Kelli gets all of her debt paid for through her web site, she is still a short sighted opportunist.

  8. Invest It Wisely says:

    She must be going viral with the story… you gotta admit, it’s pretty amazing to spend that much on a sociology degree.

    I spent about $100k on my university degree, but that includes my living expenses, and I raised about $80k by working part-time and doing paid internships. I wonder why she wasn’t able to cover at least some of that amount? Well, at least she’s being inventive about it now. ;)

    • Investor Junkie says:

      More importantly where were her parents and telling her this wasn’t a good idea?

  9. Ken @ Spruce Up Your Finances says:

    $200,000 on a Sociology degree.. that’s a lot of money to owe. For other people, they already have gotten either a medical degree or a lawyer (jd). Yikes, it’s such a high price tag for a potentially low starting salary.

  10. Robert @ The College Investor says:

    She has a sociology degree!!! She knows how to pull your heart-strings and make you donate money!

    She will be fine in the end. Maybe this is her thesis study?

    • Investor Junkie says:

      Hey Robert, that’s a very good point and is possible. I never thought of this… but for an undergrad?

      Part of the thesis/experiment could be social proof with the donation amount that keeps rising. You should donate too since many others have already.

  11. Len Penzo says:

    Oh my gosh. How do these people get into college in the first place? You’d think they’d be smart enough to do a little market analysis on the marketability of their degree before they agreed to take on such massive debt loads.

    It’s hard to feel sorry for folks like that. I’m sorry, but it just is.

    All the best,

    Len Penzo dot Com

  12. BeatingTheIndex says:

    Talk about a waste of time AND money! I am surprised no one out there took a minute to give her some advice regarding her choices, does she have parents?

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