Ron Lieber at the NY Times found a few people who could tell of working their way through college but I’m sure he had to deploy all of the powers of the NY Times to locate them. One relies on food that he hunts for food and dead wood on the roadside for heat. Another used a ton of AP credits to get out of freshman year.
His good luck at finding debt-free hard workers runs out halfway through the piece. Then we hear about one enterprising young waitress who’s lost access to student aid because of her hard work. Yup. She makes too much money to qualify now and so she’s still going to end up in debt.
When Kelsey Manuel, 21, transferred from a community college near her home in Lexington, N.C., to Appalachian State, she worried about enrolling without a clear career goal. But she soon settled on a hospitality major, having worked as a waitress near her home. She made $16,000 in 2011.
Those earnings, however, kept her from being eligible for much federal financial aid, and she was only able to earn just over $12,000 in 2012 at a similar job at a hotel about 10 miles from campus. Her parents have not been able to help her pay for college, and she is now on pace to end up with at least $30,000 in student loan debt.
Kelsey is now learning that the system is going to get as much out of her as it possibly can. By making $16k as an 18 year old, she’s practically a 1%er for that age group. And how is she rewarded? But cutting off her aid. What a wonderful system.
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